Fury as TV pub set to close af­ter funds cut

The Scotsman - - Features - Lucy Bo­guStawSki

The clo­sure of a soap opera pub could be avoided if the govern­ment had not scrapped plans for com­mu­nity own­er­ship, real ale cam­paign­ers claim.

The pub fa­mous for be­ing the “Wool­pack” in Em­merdale will close due to the de­par­ture of its ten­ants. The pub, which is used in the ex­ter­nal shots of the ITV soap, is tied to en­ter­prise Inns. It is be­lieved the cur­rent ten­ant, Ni­chola McGrath, is strug­gling due to in­flated rents and high beer prices.

Mike Ben­ner, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Cam­paign for Real Ale (Camra), crit­i­cised govern­ment plans to get rid of com­mu­nity owned pubs which were an­nounced ear­lier this month.

he said: “No doubt the tightknit (al­beit fic­tional) com­mu­nity in Em­merdale would jump at the chance to buy this icon of a pub to­gether, but un­for­tu­nately the govern­ment have re­cently scrapped plans to pro­vide over £4 mil­lion to pro­vide sup­port for com­mu­nity owned pubs.

“With­out fi­nan­cial sup­port, com­mu­ni­ties sim­ply can­not af­ford to keep their pubs afloat.”

In March 2010, for­mer pubs min­is­ter John healey an­nounced a 12-point ac­tion plan to sup­port com­mu­nity pubs.

As part of this plan, the pre­vi­ous govern­ment promised £3.3 mil­lion to sup­port com­mu­nity own­er­ship of pubs, ad­min­is­tered through the Plun­kett Foun­da­tion, and a fur­ther £1 mil­lion to Pub is the hub.

Mr healy, who will give the key­note ad­dress to Camra’s Labour Party con­fer­ence re­cep­tion to be held with the All Par­lia­men­tary Beer Group in Septem­ber, said the news of the Wool­pack’s clo­sure would be a blow to res­i­dents in the area.

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