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Campaign by councillors to keep Oxenhope pub open criticised by its landlady
A campaign by a group of councillors to keep an Oxenhope pub open has been criticised by its landlady who says she has never seen them in the hostelry they are so keen to save.
The Bay Horse Inn was recently put up for sale by owners Enterprise Inns for £295,000.
News of the sale led to three ward Conservative councillors – Glen Miller, Rebecca Poulsen and Russell Brown – launching a campaign to keep it as a pub.
A press release they sent out last week called for it to be named an asset that could be run by the community.
But landlady Karen Ward said the first she heard of the campaign was when she was contacted by the press.
She said the reason the pub was on the market was because it wasn’t being supported by the community.
The councillors’ campaign said: “Quite often communities have been sad to see their local, which is an important part of community life, closed and turned into something else.”
Mrs Ward, who also runs the Flappit pub, said she had been unwilling to buy the Oxenhope business from Enterprise because it was not busy enough to justify the large gamble. She added: “I was shocked when I heard what the councillors were saying.
“I’m not sure what it’s got to do with them. I’ve never seen them here before.
“It has never been a really busy pub and we worked out the other day that 98 per cent of the village probably never come in.
“It is a lovely place – we just couldn’t buy it. I’m not happy because we’ll have to make three staff redundant, but most people don’t come in here.
“There are three more pubs in the village so I don’t know what the councillors are so worried about.
“It is the heart of things on Straw Race day but unfortunately people come in once a year and don’t support it the rest of the time.
“We’ve even had people complain when we’ve had functions.”
Coun Miller said: “Obviously, anyone has a right to sell it but we just wanted to show there was a need for community pubs.
“Whoever does buy it, I wish them well. But I just hope it stays as a pub.
“I have been there occasionally – it is a long way for me to get there but the campaign was more so the community knew what was going on.”
Mrs Ward said she believed the pub was sold late last week although she had yet to hear who the buyer was or what their plans for the building were.
Enterprise Inns confirmed they were in final negotiations with a potential buyer for the freehold. It understands that the site will continue as a pub.
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