A GROUP of residents have got together to try to salvage a community pub following the sale of land that currently houses their local.
The Woodcutter, in Kingsley Avenue, Hartlepool, has been sold to Euro Property Management, to make way for 13 three-bedroom houses.
But local residents want to club together and get a business loan to buy part of the land to keep for a small community pub.
Jon Whitfield, of Euro Property Management, previously said the Woodcutter had come to the end of its life, with three or four people using it on Saturday afternoons, as well as for functions.
But residents say that is not the case and they want to fight to ensure there is still somewhere local to socialise.
Residents feel so strongly about losing their local watering hole that they decided to put together a group to see if there is any chance they can save at least part of the pub or secure a plot of land on the site to allow a small pub to remain.
Scott Evans, from the group, said: “Having used the Woodcutter for the past 19 years and friends for even longer it came as a big shock that it had been sold with the intention to demolish it and create more housing in this already densely housed estate.
“We don’t need more housing we need to keep our community pub to ensure we have a meeting place to socialise and hold events as we have done in the past.”
Scott added: “With the financial backing for the project invested from some of the group and a business loan for the set up we feel it is a viable business and it would be run by the community for the community.”
He added that “many people” were still using the venue before it closed, including a disabled group and pool, darts, and football teams.
Former Woodcutter regular and group member Neil Appleyard said: “It would be a community pub ran by the community for the community.”
Scott claims group members had approached the new owner of the pub via the landlord at the time of hearing about the sale of the venue to see if he would be interested in their proposal but were told no and the house scheme was planned.
But Mr Whitfield said he was not aware of the proposal and added: “Personally, I don’t think it’s viable. But that’s not to say it couldn’t happen – there could be better options for them to retain something within their area.”
He said he is interested in meeting with group members with a view to maybe opening a similar venue at the Euro-Property Management-owned shopping parade in Catcote Road, “which would make a lot more sense”.
“I’ve got no problems in discussing anything with them,” he added.
“I haven’t had any direct contact, but I’m more than happy to have a meeting.”
He added that the former Mowbray pub, in nearby Mowbray Road, which was bought by his company, will house a sandwich shop, which opens there on Monday, and a convenience store, and his company is seeking permission for the third unit on the former Mowbray site to be a pub, which could may be attractive for the group.