Public outcry saves pub from bulldozer

The Victoria pub in St Annes will no longer be demolished
The Victoria pub in St Annes will no longer be demolished
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A TIDAL wave of public support has led to proposals to demolish a famous Fylde pub being thrown out.

The historic Victoria Hotel on Church Road, St Annes, will remain standing for the foreseeable future as plans to turn the site into 40 retirement homes were turned down.

Fylde Council could yet face an appeal from developers McCarthy and Stone, but passionate regulars turned out in force to back plans to save the Victorian building.

John Dickinson, from St Annes, addressed the development management committee.

He said: “I don’t believe the need for 40 more apartments in St Annes can be justified. The Victoria Hotel is the centre of the community and if we knock it down, the community will die.”

Another regular, John Dempsey, from St David’s Road North, claims putting pensioners in homes on a busy junction was dangerous.

He added: “It’s a beautiful building but it’s the actual site between two major junctions in St Annes where we have had serious accidents. I’m quite mobile on my feet, but I’ve had a few panic attacks trying to cross that road.”

Edward Duralski, from Hove Road, questioned why the demolished Kwik Save site on nearby St David’s Road was not being used.

He said: “There is a well known saying ‘those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it’.

“The lesson we can learn from the Kwik Save site is it was knocked down and the revenue to this council was zero.

“This is what we are facing with the demolition of the Victoria.”

The pub had been recently turned down for listed status by English Heritage, but the fact it had been considered was thought to be key in attempts to save it.

Chris Butt, an agent for McCarthy and Stone, said: “We’ve been looking for a site in St Annes for a number of years and have looked at the site mentioned, but have not come forward with plans.

“We feel it’s a very good location given that it’s close to shops.

“We’ve worked closely with the officers and re-designed the proposal on a number of occasions.

“We believe it will enhance the area.”

Councillors also spoke passionately about saving the pub.

Coun Tim Armit said: “It’s a significant part of the community and we can’t keep knocking local buildings down.”

Coun Charlie Duffy added: “If this was a site with a few derelict houses it would be fine to demolish, but it’s a vibrant pub.”

The council voted to reject the plans on the grounds of a “detrimental impact to the community” but will have to wait to find out if an appeal is lodged.

After the hearing, regular Darren Pritchard said: “It’s great news for me, this pub has been years in service, it was established a very long time back.

“It has been a good place for the community who come here and although it needs money spent on it. It doesn’t need knocking down.”

Graham Harris added: “It is a meeting place for people, it has been for years, and if the pub closed it would disrupt people’s lives. These are people who perhaps don’t have family and want to come in for a drink with nice people.”