Pub landlords won’t give up without fight

Gillibrand Arms pub
Gillibrand Arms pub

Landlords at a Chorley pub have vowed to battle on despite the potential closure of their business.

Brendan McDonnell and his wife Janet have been at the Gillibrand Arms pub, in Collingwood Road for 14 months.

Last week, the couple learnt that owners Thwaites Brewery was in discussions with Chorley Community Housing (CCH) about selling the pub.

CCH has identified the plot of land for 12 two-bedroom houses and 10 one-bedroom flats.

Mr McDonnell and his wife have been in the pub trade for 22 years.

He said: “We are sorry that it could be going but it is a business proposal from Thwaites.

“The pub is doing really well, but we are caught between a rock and a hard place really.

“I understand that people are up in arms but if they had actively supported the pub in the past, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.”

Mr McDonnell first learnt of the plans after seeing a message on social media site Facebook.

He added: “We were disgusted that CCH never told us about this.

“It informed other businesses and residents in the area but we never got anything.

“As long as we are here or until its sold, the pub will stay open. We believe the community needs a pub and we’ve had great feedback.

“It’s only a proposal and we are anticipating a busy Christmas and New Year.”

A CCH spokesperson said: “Chorley Community Housing has been exploring the opportunity to develop the site of the Gillibrand Arms public house on for affordable

housing.

“The pub has been actively marketed by an agent on behalf of the brewery without success.

“So the brewery began negotiations on the sale of the premises for a housing

development.

“CCH has become involved in these negotiations and has recently secured grant funding for the potential development as part of a development programme of more than 200 houses to be built across Chorley, Lancaster and Sefton.

“A proposal for the development of 12 two-bed houses and 10 one-bed apartments for affordable rent is being progressed with a view to submitting a planning application this month.

“We have now begun a consultation process with local residents to seek their views on this scheme which we believe will be a valuable addition to the housing stock of the borough.”

A spokesman from Thwaites Brewery was unavailable for comment.