A DERELICT pub has been sold for almost £500,000 – with the potential for it to be transformed into flats.

The White Horse pub, in North Street, Rochford, was sold at auction by Dedman Gray, with hot competition to buy the site.

Prior to the auction, pre-planning advice from Rochford Council stated the “site represents good development opportunity” and could be suitable for a block of eight flats.

The pub, which has been closed for more than a year, was sold for £479,000 at auction.

Mike Gray, of Dedman Gray, confirmed the pub will be demolished and flats built, rather than be converted.

Advertising the site, an extract from Dedman Gray’s website read: “It is considered that this plot holds significant development potential due to being located in a popular residential area, subject to gaining the necessary consents.”

The auctioneers also claimed Rochford Council would not necessarily object to plans for flats on the former pub site.

The auctioneer’s note added: “There has been pre-application advice given on behalf of the Rochford District Council for the purpose of demolishing the public house and construction of eight flats with parking area.

“The council have advised that, in principle, the proposed residential use is not objectionable in this location and that the site constitutes a good development opportunity.”

Mr Gray stated there was a lot of competition at the auction, predominantly from developers in the area.

He said: “As it has always been known, there are a lot of pubs in Rochford and it is not easy for them all to remain these days and continue with a suitable level of trade.

“When the sites of pubs are big enough, with a garden and parking, people are looking at alternative uses and often that is in the form of homes.

“The White Horse created a lot of interest, a lot of that coming from local developers and companies, which is very pleasing.”

In February 2018, shortly before the pub closed, it was embroiled in trouble when a mass brawl broke out at the pub.

Police stated it was called to reports of a large group arguing and throwing bottles outside the pub.

A woman in her 40s reported she was pushed and a woman in her 20s received cuts to her face.

The developers declined to comment on their plans.