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Boars Head moves a step closer to community ownership

Posted on - 19th April, 2017 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Broughton, Business, News, Politics, Preston Council, Pubs
Protest outside the Boars Head showing support for keeping the pub as a community asset
Protest outside the Boars Head showing support for keeping the pub as a community asset

A campaign group who want to take on the running of a former village pub on the outskirts of Preston has expressed their delight at what they see as a major victory.

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The Boars Head at Barton was closed in the Autumn last year and is earmarked for sale by property developers.

But the Barton Heritage Group has hailed the decision by Preston City Council to uphold a decision to list the building as a ‘community asset’ as a step closer to re-opening the pub.

The pub on Garstang Road would be demolished and nine houses built in its place under plans by NWL Properties.

However, director of development at the city council Chris Hayward, has ruled a decision in January this year to give the 200-year-old pub special status should still stand.

Barton villagers – who have a 600-strong membership – say they should now be able to bid for the pub to be run as a co-operative.

Read more: Election to be held for two Preston City Council seats

A spokeswoman of behalf of the Heritage Group said: “We are absolutely delighted that Preston City Council have announced that it is to uphold the Asset of Community Value Status of the Boars Head at Barton, we feel like the heart of our community for over 200 years has been saved.

“We are looking forward to working with the owners to negotiate the purchase of the pub as a community. We have exciting plans to turn it into a Village Hub, not just a pub! The entire village has been involved in the development plans to include a public library, post office, cash point, grocery and safe play area to name but a few! All the facilities a close knit rural community needs.”

The Boars Head Pub, Barton. Photo by Keith Sergeant

Despite the decision by the city council the community asset status could still be stripped – if the developers decide to take the council’s decision to an independent tribunal.

Mr Hayward’s decision to keep the listing states: “I therefore agree with the original Council decision to list the asset, as the principal use has furthered the community’s social well-being and/or social interests in the recent past and it is realistic it will do so again in the next five years.”

“In reaching that conclusion, I have taken into account the large number of community representations, many of which have provided examples of how important the Boar’s Head pub has been to their local community, both historically and recently, whether that be through village events such as the Rose Queen Fete, christenings and wakes connected to the church or informal gatherings.

“The Barton Heritage Group have demonstrated to the Council that their plans for the asset have a realistic chance of being implemented and have made clear their intentions to bid for the site if it was to be put up for sale again.

“The owners have signalled their intention to sell part of the site including the building to any local community group. This listing provides an opportunity for the local community to bid for any part of the site which is put up for sale, whether in whole or in part. However, as stated above, it does not guarantee a sale. That decision remains with the landowner.”

Read more: Where the fight to save Preston and South Ribble libraries is up to

No comment has been received by the current owners of the Boars Head site.

Do you live in Barton? What do you think about the Boars Head decision? Let us know in the comments below

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