The future of a recently closed Ellesmere Port pub is amber.
Blackpool-based Amber Taverns, which has acquired The Thomas Telford on the town’s historic high street from Wetherspoon, has applied to the borough council to vary the premises licence at the pub to make structural alterations.
The pubco is also seeking to remove conditions on the existing licence and to replace them with its own operating schedule and to allow for entertainment and films Sunday to Thursday 8am to half past midnight with 1am on Fridays and Saturdays along with non standard hours.
The company’s website discloses Ellesmere Port to be a target town for Amber which pays finders fees of 2% of purchase price up to a maximum of £15,000. Acquisitions should be freehold or on a long leasehold of at least 50 years in high street locations and offering a minimum of 2,000sq ft of minimum ground floor trading area.
It says: “We are passionate about our public houses and the communities that they serve. We ensure that they are refurbished to a very high standard and offer a fantastic drinks selection and audio visual package including the full BT and Sky Sports portfolio.
“We offer leading brands such as John Smiths, Fosters, Kronenbourg, Guinness and Strongbow, the best selling bottled beers and alcopops as well as a great selection of wine and soft drinks.”
The pubco has 120 public houses across the north west, north east, the midlands and Wales.
It was announced last year The Thomas Telford was one of 45 pubs being disposed of nationally by operator Wetherspoon for ‘commercial’ reasons. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said at the time: “We appreciate that our loyal customers will be disappointed with the decision. The pubs will remain trading as Wetherspoon pubs as normal until or if the pubs are sold.”
Following the recent closure Wetherspoon added: “All staff are being relocated to other Wetherspoon pubs in the area, including The Wheatsheaf in Ellesmere Port and our pubs in Chester so there will be no job losses as a result of this closure.”
The local branch of CAMRA described The Thomas Telford, which opened in 2003, as having ‘a slightly more classy feel than a typical ‘spoons venue’ thanks largely to thoughtfully fitted lighting and some good modern decorative features’.
“There is a good selection of ales with the landlord always keen to respond to customer preferences,” CAMRA suggested, adding that closure ‘could leave the town centre a beer desert’.
There were mixed view on the Pride on the Port website but Ann Patricia Pearson posted: “I for one am very sad it closed. It was a great meeting place for all kinds of people whether you worked or not.” For the future Jenny Davies suggested the Telford would reopen as a sports bar.
The Salvation Army separately occupies the first floor of the premises on a let running to 2022 and bookmakers William Hill are in an adjoining unit in the same ownership as the pub with a let until 2019.
A pub buff in the town has suggested that ‘the beer selection from henceforth might not be what CAMRA might hope for and be much worse than it was at the Telford. But at least it will remain a pub’.
Representations are due at the borough council’s offices at 4 Civic Way by September 27.