A DERELICT pub awaiting demolition could remain an eyesore in Helsby after the council applied for it to become a listed building.
The Robin Hood Hotel, on Chester Road, Helsby was set to be reduced to a pile of rubble in March.
But now the building could survive after Cheshire West and Chester Council applied for it to be protected.
Residents are baffled by the decision which, if approved by the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, could see the building stay put.
Since the pub closed it has become a hotspot for vandalism and crime and has been blamed for Helsby missing out on top prizes at the Best Kept Village competition.
If listed, the Robin Hood would join a club of 34 historic listed pubs across Cheshire despite Helsby parish councillors insisting it has no historical significance and should be demolished.
Cllr Chris Ellams said: “The problem is that if it becomes a listed building we are limited to what can be done with it. We are probably going to end up with the eyesore in the village.
“It would be brilliant if someone could reopen it as a pub, it would take a lot of work but it would be great to have a village pub again. But I don't see that happening.”
After a public consultation in March parish councillors supported plans to demolish the pub and build 13 new homes, but now Cllr Ellams is worried these plans will be scrapped.
“If it is listed the owners may think it is too much work to maintain it and put it back on the market.”
Spokesperson for English Heritage Helen Bowman confirmed there had been an application saying: “When we make an assessment, we do so in consideration of whether the building in question possesses ‘special architectural and historic interest in a national context’ – it cannot just be locally important.”
A spokesperson for CWaC defended the application, saying: “We believe the Robin Hood does not warrant being demolished. As a council we believe the building is historically important.
“It is a combination of the interest of the building as a purpose built public house on a principal route way, the quality of the building and its unaltered nature which gives this building its special characteristics.”