ANGER is growing over the fate of an “eyesore” town centre pub after it was revealed it is to be mothballed.
Kirkham’s St George’s Hotel – popularly known as The George – is set to be boarded up after being closed for more than 12 months.
Brewery Scottish and Newcastle has revealed it will not market the pub until the economic climate improves, with the premises now set to lie empty for at least the next year.
And it is a decision which has sparked fury among local councillors, who want to see the building smartened up and brought back into use.
Town mayor Coun Elaine Silverwood, said: “The latest news is the brewery has made the decision to mothball it for 12 months, board it up and have a security company going in. That’s the worst thing we could hear. It’s going to look worse.”
The town council has written repeatedly to the brewery calling for action, but fears the latest development leaves them powerless to improve the appearance of the prominent building, at the junction of Poulton Street, Preston Street and Station Road.
Coun Silverwood added: “I’m going to put it to the council we push someone from Scottish and Newcastle to come to our meeting.
“They are saying it’s because of the economic climate – fine, I accept that, but there’s been a lot of regeneration work at the bottom of town and it looks so much smarter, yet that pub looks worse and worse.
“In my opinion, they’ve no intention of re-opening it as a pub. I think it’s inappropriate for our town to have that eyesore.”
Local police also became involved following fears about the safety of the building.
Louise Barnett, spokesman for Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company, said: “It is a difficult economic climate for businesses to trade in at the moment and the viability of the site is still under review.
“However, we can confirm it will remain closed for the time being. In the meantime, we are committed to maintaining the fabric of the building and have appointed a management company to oversee the site.”