A campaign has begun to save an historic Ellesmere Port pub from being knocked down and replaced with an apartment block.
The Grace Arms, on Stanney Lane, is in the process of being sold to developers who plan to demolish the building to make way for 42 new-build flats.
The pub, which has been serving pints since before the Second World War, is one of the town’s oldest drinking establishments. Since news of its possible demise was revealed last week, a Facebook group called “Save the Grace Arms” has gained more than 300 likes.
The group was created by Gemma Baxter, whose grandparents James and Gladys Fildes ran the Grace from 1945 to the late 1960s.
Gemma said: “We are quickly losing the identity of this town to ugly, template developments which will not be fit for purpose in 40 years time and have not been designed with our town in mind.
“Buildings like the Grace Arms are milestones in our heritage and we must fight to protect them for future generations, as well as the social space which this pub provides for so many people in the town including those who are marginalised.”
Residents in the Stanney Lane area received letters last week from Birkenhead-based housing association Magenta Living, who are working in partnership with Warrington developers Lane End Developments on the project.
The letter says they plan to deliver a “new-build development of 42 apartments on land at Stanney Lane”. Louise Edwards, project manager for Magenta Living, confirmed the land was on the site of the Grace – which would be demolished to make way for the flats – and not on vacant land across the road where the Royal British Legion once stood.
Greene King, who own the Grace, said the sale of the pub had been agreed in principle but was not yet complete.
A spokesperson for Greene King added: “As a leading pub operator and brewer, we are committed to running high quality community pubs. To be able to continue to invest in our estate, from time to time we have to make the difficult decision to sell a pub. After much consideration, we decided to put The Grace Arms on the market. A sale has been agreed in principle and our team are aware of the situation. The Grace Arms remains open for business as usual.”
The firm will try help all staff affected to find positions at other Greene King pubs in the area.
A public consultation event will be held at West Cheshire College’s Ellesmere Port campus on Wednesday (October 4), giving residents a chance to have their say on the proposals (4.30pm-6pm). Prior to the consultation, there has already been plenty of support for saving the pub on the “Save the Grace Arms” Facebook page.
Sharon Rachel Williams wrote: “Ellesmere Port is not our town any more. It’s a free-for-all for developers to take any bits of land they can and this time they have gone too far.”
Lynda Richardson added: “Far too nice a building to knock down and replace with new builds, that will look awful in a few years.”
James Davies said: “Such a shame if they demolish the Grace.”
It is believed the pub was built in the mid-1930s. It was named after the Grace family, who lived at nearby Whitby Hall.
No-one from Lane End Developments was available for comment.
See full story in the Chester Leader