Campaign pub is closed and boarded up

Gillibrand Arms Pub on Collingwood Road in Chorley which is closed and has been boarded up.'30th March 2015
Gillibrand Arms Pub on Collingwood Road in Chorley which is closed and has been boarded up.'30th March 2015

A pub at the centre of a community campaign has been closed and boarded up.

The Gillibrand Arms became the borough’s first Asset of Community Value application when campaigners got together to save the premises.

A planning application has been submitted by Chorley Community Housing (CCH) for the Thwaites-owned Collingwood Road pub, which has put it up for sale subject to planning permission.

It is understood it will cost CCH £350,000 to buy it.

There are fears it may now be targeted by vandals as a decision over its future is made.

Ward councillor Ralph Snape, who is backing the campaign, said: “I’m not happy because my main concern now is, are we going to get vandals and people like that?

“It will attract that kind of element which is not needed for that area, or the people who live in that area.

“Joyce (wife and ward councillor) and I are there to safeguard the people who are living in that area.

“The police neighbourhood officer had a chat with me and told me he felt the same.

“That was when we heard it was going to be boarded up.

“I said we’ll work together and if I hear anything I’ll ring him.

“But my worry is how long is it going to be like this?

“I’m amazed it has got to this stage with the brewery.

“Surely a big company like them should have dealt with it in a different way.

“I can’t find out properly whether it can be shut for six months or knocked down.

“Is it going to be left for who knows how long, boarded up.

“Are they waiting for somebody to buy it?”

If the community group is victorious, it could result in the pub being bought through a fund raising campaign and run by them.

Under the Localism Act 2011, it means any proposed sale could be put on hold for up to six months to give members of the community the chance to raise funds to buy the “asset”.

Community Assets include pubs, churches, schools, libraries and a host of other land and buildings.

Campaigner Bernadette Markham said; “We need to enter discussions with Thwaites to find out if it is for sale and whether they will work with us.

“We could start fund-raising to buy it, or an alternative plan would be to work as a community and rent it and run it as a co-operative.

“If they are willing to enter into negotiations there’s a number of options we can pursue.”

However, Andrew Buchanan, director of pub operations at Thwaites, said: “The Gillibrand Arms was listed as an Asset of Community Value and we have been working closely with Chorley Council over the last six weeks to help secure its sale to keep the pub in business.

“Unfortunately the funds required have not been raised in time, therefore we have had to close the pub and continue with the sale to Chorley Community Housing.

“We are conscious that the building means a lot to the local community and have ensured it is appropriately secured.

“We have also relocated licensees Brendan and Janet McDonnell to the recently refurbished Hop Pocket in Chorley.”