Protect your local
It is a common sight, throughout the country – boarded up and derelict pubs! More difficult to spot but equally common are pubs that have changed use and may be are now shops/ apartments or nurseries. The reasons for this are many.
Halton is far from immune to this – once extremely busy pubs such as the Masonic (Runcorn) the South Bank (Runcorn) and the Doctors (Widnes) remain boarded up. The Appleton Arms in Widnes in now a childrens nursery, with the Railway in Runcorn expected to have the same fate. The Swan in West Bank has become apartments and the Queens in Widnes has been demolished and become an overspill car park for the bus depot!
Besides reminiscing, a much asked question is what can be done about this? There are many parts to this answer. One part of the solution is for valued community pubs to be formally listed as Assets of Community Value (ACV). The importance of this was discussed in an article in the Spring Out Inn Cheshire. Whilst not in itself preventing change happening, ACV status can make pubs less attractive to developers, and give locals a chance to campaign to save their pub. Nationally over 1,200 pubs are listed as ACVs. If you want to learn more about what you can do to protect your local, please visit www.camra.org.uk/listyourlocal
Halton CAMRA fully endorses the protection of good local pubs, and often the serving of good quality cask ale is a sign of a thriving vibrant community centred pub. The branch has recently submitted its first application for a pub to be listed as an ACV – the Grapes in Widnes. This has a thriving support from the local community and is a key part of the local music scene. Every Saturday, local bands perform live – talent is nurtured and a good night had by those who go along. A win – win situation! The Grapes also serves real ale and a real cider – a rarity in the cider desert of Halton! Halton CAMRA view the Grapes as the ideal candidate for an ACV - the outcome of the application for the Grapes is keenly awaited.
A number of other vibrant community pubs spring to mind as meriting ACV status, and the protection this brings. Further applications are expected! Halton already has one pub awarded ACV status – the Wellington in Hale. Again a thriving pub serving real ale and with regular events (eg Quiz nights) and a community focus.
If you want to protect your pub – firstly use it! However, after this ACV listing may be a key part of the answer!