Pub bat­tlers bid to beat sale blow

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ [email protected]­ @jamie_lopez1

ACOMMUNITY group, try­ing to cre­ate a mi­cro­brew­ery and de­men­tia cafe in a Birk­dale pub have vowed to block de­mo­li­tion plans, af­ter the pub was sold to a de­vel­oper.

The Blun­dell Arms Com­mu­nity Pub (BACP) was dealt a hefty blow ear­lier this year when the for­mer Blun­dell Arms was sold by brew­ery firm Star Bar and Pubs.

It had pre­vi­ously lodged its own bid and se­cured fur­ther fund­ing to ren­o­vate the site and re­ceived sup­port from South­port MP Damien Moore.

It had also se­cured a grant from More Than a Pub, a gov­ern­ment pro­gramme es­tab­lished to help sup­port com­mu­nity own­er­ship of pubs in Eng­land, and re­vealed am­bi­tious plans which fea­ture a wheel­chair-ac­ces­si­ble farm gar­den, mi­cro­brew­ery, events such as “dis­til your own gin” nights, and meet­ing rooms for com­mu­nity groups.

But the group now fears that the de­vel­oper will ap­ply for per­mis­sion to de­mol­ish the pub to make way for hous­ing and is pre­par­ing to bat­tle any such plan.

It is also hope­ful of buy­ing out the new owner and Ja­son McCor­mack, who launched the ini­tial cam­paign, says talks have be­gun.

He said: “The new own­ers said that we can buy the pub from them at a pre­mium price. We feel that we can get a fairer price for the pub if it re­mains a pub.

“The pub is listed as an As­set of Com­mu­nity Value and that pro­vides ma­te­rial ev­i­dence of the pub’s value to the com­mu­nity. This is a chance to re­vi­talise the Up­per Aughton Road area of Birk­dale.

“Our pro­ject will cre­ate jobs for peo­ple of all ages and abil­i­ties, help re­duce so­cial iso­la­tion and im­prove so­cial co­he­sion.”

The group will share its plans at a pub­lic meet­ing at 7pm to­mor­row (Fri­day, Novem­ber 30)at Birk­dale Con­ser­va­tive Club, Liver­pool Road.

There will be guest speak­ers in­clud­ing an ad­mi­ral nurse, a sur­veyor, an ex­pert on com­mu­nity projects and John Wright, the Lib­eral Democrats’ Par­lia­men­tary can­di­date for South­port.

Every­one who at­tends will be en­tered in a free raf­fle for a bot­tle of Save The Blun­dell Arms Gin, pro­duced lo­cally by Birk­dale Kraft Dis­tillery.

The Blun­dell Arms pub is still at risk of de­mo­li­tion

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