Pub still open

A POPULAR pub will remain open despite its owners submitting plans that could see the site redeveloped into flats in the future.

Owner Punch Taverns says there are no plans to close The Fisherman’s Arms, in Southgate, on the Headland, but an application for a change of use for the building has been sent in to Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning department.

A spokeswoman said they were “exploring options” for the potential redevelopment of the site and the application relates to a change of use from a pub to three flats if it was to close in the future.

But the popular pub will remain open and Punch Taverns says its main priority is to work with the current landlords.

The Fisherman’s Arms is run by Steve Bell, 49, and his partner Mandy Jackson, 48, a mum-of-one, and the pair are currently redecorating the pub ahead of a beer festival later this month.

A spokeswoman for Punch Taverns said: “We are currently exploring options for the future of the Fisherman’s Arms which includes the potential redevelopment of the site.

“However, our main priority is to ensure that the Fisherman’s continues to provide a great facility for the local community and we are working closely with the licensees to develop their business plans.”

Dad-of-three Steve, who took over the pub seven months ago, said: “We are looking to the future.

“We have a beer festival organised for the 27th to the 30th of May, which will include dozens of beers and we are also in discussions with the council to apply for a licence that will allow us to play live music.

“We are also redecorating the pub at the moment so there is a lot to look forward to.”

There will be a variety of music, traditional pub games and entertainment on offer over the course of the four-day beer festival, which is the first held by the pub.

Meanwhile, the pub has also recently received the Cask Marque in recognition of the excellent quality of the ale that is on offer at the venue.

The Fisherman’s Arms, which is one of only six pubs in town to receive the award, was recognised after a visit from Cask Marque inspector Jim Kerr who tested three ales for temperature, clarity and taste.

Steve, back in the trade after a 20-year break, said: “Cask ales are the fastest growing area in the licensed trade as customers are becoming more discerning and looking for quality products.”