Proposals to redevelop a historic Sutton pub have met with opposition from pensioners who fondly remember drinking in the now-derelict watering hole.

The Prince Regent, in High Street, closed its doors last year and developers are now preparing to submit a planning application to demolish it and build an eight-storey block of flats.

George Potter, 79, and his wife Margaret, 81, were regular customers of the pub, which dates back to the early 19th century and was formerly called The Cricketers, from their 20s onwards.

They stopped drinking there after it became too "rowdy” in recent years, but after learning the building was threatened with demolition decided to take action.

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Margaret and George Potter

The pair have been rallying around trying to gather support for their opposition to Mizen Properties' plans to bulldoze the Grade II-listed boozer.

Mr Potter, who lives in Rectory Road a four-minute walk from the pub, said those objected to the redevelopment needed to act fast “or it will be gone forever – and that’s that”.

He added: “I have been in Sutton half my life, and my wife all of hers. We’ve seen it all, and this is the last old building that we have left at the top end of Sutton.

“I know that it’s closed now but it should be restored and brought back to life, not knocked down to make way for another big block of flats.

“While the building is still standing we still have a chance, but once the developers manage to get it de-listed, and once it has been bulldozed it will be gone forever – and that’s that."

Mrs Potter added: “I would go for a drink in there from the day I was old enough to do so. It got a bit rowdy and started to play heavy music in recent years though.

“But there are no pubs like it around here anymore… Everyone piles down to Wetherspoon, which is fine, but we’re missing something like that around here.”

The developer last month held a public consultation meeting with locals in the nearby Holy Family Parish Hall, Sorrento Road, to discuss the plans, which also include shops on the ground floor.

Bernard Tansey, group director of Mizen Properties, said the building had "noticeably died" as a pub and the cost of restoring it ould cost in excess of £1m.

He said: "The building is recognisably in a very dilapidated condition and with a view to the restoration of its viability the professional firm Gleeds surveyors prepared an independent condition survey.

"And an estimate of cost of restoration of the premises under several restoration options, [including] a pub, a restaurant... all [fell] in a range of costs from £600k to an excess over £1m.

"The place has been on sale for up to 12 months, has been advertised locally, and in the Estates Gazette, and not a single bid has been received."

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How the proposed flats could look 

It would be "questionable" whether a new alcohol licence would be issued if the pub was restored, according to the developers.

Mr Tansey added: "The pub licence has lapsed and it is very questionable whether a new alcohol licence would be available to anyone bearing in mind the abysmal reputation of the pub in the area.

“This discovery emerged during the marketing of the pub by Montague Evans jointly with Centro Commercial and in discussions with police.”

But Mr Potter, a member of community group Friends of Sutton Green, said: “The Prince Regent has a neglected appearance but a rich history as the Cricketer’s pub, as the old games were played at the adjoining Sutton Green.

A report on the public consultation meeting is expected to be published alongside the planning application later this year.