Justin Madders has said he wishes developers could have chosen a different site to build 42 new apartments in Ellesmere Port, rather than putting a landmark pub at risk.

The future of the Grace Arms on Stanney Lane is in doubt as Warrington-based Lane End Developments are in the process of buying the pub with the intention of bulldozing it and constructing blocks of new-build apartments in its place.

A public consultation was held last week and plans are due to be submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council soon.

Mr Madders, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, met campaigners fighting to save the pub last week and is sympathetic to their cause.

He said: “Whilst there is a need for new housing in the town centre, it needs to be affordable and ideally council housing for rent. There are many empty sites now near the town centre which I would much prefer to be redeveloped instead of demolishing a well known and loved landmark in the town.

“Up and down the country pubs have been closing at a rate of between 20 and 30 a week for a number of years now as people’s drinking habits change, but every one that is lost is more jobs gone and a little bit of that community lost. Too often now our pubs are in the hands of huge national companies, who put profit ahead of community interest.

“I would urge everyone who feels strongly about this application to make their views heard as part of the planning process when an application has been submitted to the council.”

Greene King, who own the Grace, have agreed a sale in principle to Lane End, who are working in partnership with housing association Magenta Living.

There are no immediate plans to close the Grace and it remains open for business.

The pub dates back to the 1930s and is named after the Grace family, who lived at the nearby Whitby Hall.

A Save the Grace Arms campaign has been set up – the group has more than 500 “likes” on Facebook – and members collected signatures for a petition outside last Wednesday’s consultation, which was held at West Cheshire College.