Bat­tle on to save com­mu­nity pub

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH - STU­ART GREER

ACAMPAIGN to save a pub has been stepped up af­ter plans were sub­mit­ted to de­mol­ish it for hous­ing.

A group called Friends of The Black Swan in Lower Withing­ton have been bat­tling Cheshire East Coun­cil to list it as an ‘As­set of Com­mu­nity Value’ in a bid to safe­guard its fu­ture.

But now a devel­oper has sub­mit­ted plans to de­mol­ish the pop­u­lar meet­ing place on Trap Street and re­place it with five homes.

More than 50 peo­ple have reg­is­tered their ob­jec­tion to the scheme via the coun­cil’s plan­ning por­tal in a des­per­ate bid to save it.

Fion­nu­ala Keen, who is spear­head­ing the cam­paign, said she hoped the level of pub­lic in­ter­est will put the de­ci­sion in the hands of coun­cil­lors at a plan­ning com­mit­tee rather than solely with of­fi­cers.

She said: “We have a sec­ond op­por­tu­nity to ap­peal for the coun­cil to have the pub reg­is­tered as a com­mu­nity as­set at the end of July, but the plan- ning ap­pli­ca­tion an­other bat­tle.

“I would urge peo­ple against the plans to have their say and try and con­vince the coun­cil to save it for the com­mu­nity.”

In a plan­ning state­ment the ar­chi­tect Richard Bai­ley said the ap­pli­cant, Swan Ho­tel (Newby Bridge) Lim­ited, bought is the pub in 2012 in the hope of turn­ing around the busi­ness, adding: “De­spite best ef­forts, the ap­pli­cant has un­for­tu­nately been un­able to make the busi­ness eco­nom­i­cally vi­able and The Black Swan had been run­ning at a con­sid­er­able loss.”

The pub closed in April 2016. Ob­jec­tors to the scheme had their say through the coun­cil’s plan­ning por­tal.

An­drea Barker, of Wind­sor Place, said: “(The pub) is in­te­gral to the vil­lage way of life.”

Lucy Edmunds said: “This is a long stand­ing build­ing and busi­ness known and loved by many and would be a great loss to the area and the com­mu­nity.”

Lynn Tootell, of Pitt Farm, said it clo­sure would be ‘a huge mis­take’, adding: “It is of in­ter­est of the lo­cal com­mu­nity to get this re­opened. The thought of it be­ing de­mol­ished and five houses be­ing built is an ou­trage.”

James Dodd, of Hodge­hill Lane, Mac­cles­field, said: “This pub was a fan­tas­tic lo­cal as­set. There are plenty of prop­er­ties on the mar­ket in the area but fewer places for the com­mu­nity to meet and so­cialise.”

Cam­paign­ers out­side the Black Swan in Lower Withing­ton

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