Victoria Hotel now a community asset

The Victoria Hotel in 1899 and (below) the Community Association celebrate after saving the pub.

The Victoria Hotel in 1899 and (below) the Community Association celebrate after saving the pub.

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An historic hotel once earmarked for demolition is the first to make a list of Assets of Community Value in Fylde.

St Annes residents mounted a campaign against the levelling of the Victoria Hotel on Church Road, St Annes, when developers wanted to turn the site into retirement flats.

The Victoria Hotel Community Association celebrate after saving the pub

The Victoria Hotel Community Association celebrate after saving the pub

Now members of St Annes Town Council are celebrating their success at getting the much-loved local placed on Fylde Council’s community asset list – recognising it as a building which could further the social wellbeing or social interests of the town.

Fylde Cabinet agreed to place it on the list at its last meeting.

Outgoing St Annes Mayor, Coun Angela Jacques, said: “St Annes’ history is not as long as other histories, but we do have buildings of some significance.

“We have to try and keep them if possible, as once they are pulled down, that’s it – there’s no putting them back up again.

“The Victoria was within a whisker of possibly being pulled down, but now we have this ability to protect it.

“The building is ‘the local’ for a lot of people around here.”

The hotel’s inclusion on the list, brought about by the Localism Act and a nomination by St Annes Town Council, means any attempt by the owner to dispose of the property would trigger a six-week notification period in which a community group can register an interest in bidding to buy the property for use by the community.

Coun Jacques said the Victoria Hotel Community Association was in the process of building up funds to purchase the building.

She added: “It would be nice to see money spent on the hotel to make it nicer for the people who are going to use it.”

Once a building becomes an Asset of Community Value, community groups have six months to compile a bid.

The owner cannot sell the property in that period, although they are not then obliged to accept the community bid.

The Victoria was involved in a lengthy planning battle with McCarthy and Stone, which planned to develop a retirement site in its place.

Coun Cheryl Little, Fylde’s cabinet member for social wellbeing, said: “Last year’s planning appeal decision removed the immediate threat to the future of the ‘Vic’.

“The pub is a social hub for the community and fulfilled the criteria for listing.

“The Town Council was right to make the nomination and I am happy the cabinet’s decision will help to protect its future.”

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Pub that had been close to getting bulldozed...

The St Annes community had a fight on its hands when developer McCarthy and Stone announced plans to bulldoze The Victoria Hotel and build retirement flats in its place.

The developer lodged an appeal against Fylde Council’s refusal to grant planning permission with the Planning Inspectorate, who ultimately agreed with the original decision in June 2012.

Following the appeal, McCarthy and Stone revealed it would not proceed with proposals to redevelop the site.

The site is owned by the Spirit Pub Company, though the Victoria Hotel Community Association has high hopes of taking over the site and redeveloping the pub.

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