Fury over Penny Farthing pub demolition plans

FURY remains over an application to demolish a now closed Denton pub and replace it with 10 homes.

But claims people were ‘duped’ over the fate of the Penny Farthing have been refuted.

The St Anne’s Road pub looked like being saved by campaigners, who are now hitting out at what the new proposal states.

Karl Illingworth, of Manchester Developments North West Ltd, has applied to Tameside Council to knock down the existing structure and build five blocks of semi-detached properties on the site.

However John Leech, chairman of the residents’ committee that hopes to save the Penny Farthing and will object to the proposal, has fired back at statements in documents and claims they were not given a fair chance.

Neil Dixon, Katy Robinson, Audra Bickerdyke, Diane Hughes and Paul Hughes of the Save The Penny Group

In the design and access statement, it states: “The property has been on the market for some time with no purchasers being found to continue its use as a public house.

“A group of local residents took it on as a community venture but it was not viable and they could not raise funds for the purchase.”

However, John countered: “This was never the case. The facts were we were never given a fair chance, were totally duped and asked to pull the plug on our bid.

“So the facts are not correct on the planning documents.

“This was never the case, so the general consensus off messages from the group is they feel they will be appealing it and don’t agree with it.

“The locals and residents of the local area have all been duped.”

John also believes the plan to have the properties as ‘three-storey,’ with the second floor in the roof space, may also affect existing homes.

He added: “The properties at the back of the Penny will also be massively affected.

“I’m not sure on the height of the proposed houses off the plans but they are three storeys high.

“I’m sure that this will massively affect light on their houses and gardens.”

The battle to save the Penny Farthing has been ongoing since the pub closed its doors early last year.

And as former licensee Ben Jordan cleared his belongings out, members of the Save The Penny group outlined their aims.  

They hoped to buy the building and not only reopen it as a pub but also as a community hub – they have applied to Tameside Council to transfer it to the community and if approved, have six months to buy it.

Audra Bickerdyke, who works at HMP Styal in Cheshire, believed a garden that is being made for display at the Chelsea Flower Show could be donated to brighten up the car park.  

She told the Correspondent: “We want to run one side as a pub but make the other more family orientated and have a proper garden.

“Also we could maybe hold activities like yoga or Zumba, maybe even something like horticultural therapy.

“There’s an awful lot of potential to do the building and what we can do with it. There aren’t many places to go in Denton.”

It looked like they were on the road to victory when a developer contacted the group and offered to buy the site and lease the pub to them for £400 a month on a 10-year ‘no break’ lease, then build on the car park.

But in an email to the woman who was set take over as landlady, he said the group would need to withdraw their community bid for the sale to go ahead, so they did.

Now there is a real danger the building could be bulldozed.

Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne lives nearby and backed the group’s plans, saying: “I don’t know whether it’ll succeed but I’m fully supporting those local residents on this.

“The pub is right at the heart of the community and I’m sure that, with the right offer, it could thrive and be a success once more.

“It’s bitterly disappointing that residents were advised to withdraw their community asset bid for the Penny Farthing on the basis that another interested party wanted to run a pub from the site.

“This turned out not to be correct and now we are set to lose the Penny Farthing for good.

“I share the feelings of many local residents that they were duped into withdrawing the bid, only for the owners to always pursue a residential end use.”

Planning documents for the proposal, which will be considered by Tameside Council’s planning committee, insist any development will have ‘no detrimental impact.’

They also say each house will have parking for two cars and even suggest it could be a good thing for the area.

In documents, it says: “Only 20 per cent of the site will be covered with dwellings.

“Using these factors an appropriate scheme has been designed that will meet the requirements of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and fit in with the site and its surroundings, will be fit for purpose and will not detract from the visual amenity of the surrounding area.

“As this scheme is for the construction of 10 semi-detached houses in the centre of a residential area replacing a former commercial use which involved many vehicles and long working hours, then it is considered to be of appropriate size and scale, and thus has no detrimental impact on the surroundings.”

A crime impact statement also says: “Such derelict and potentially accessible sites can often encourage loitering/gathering and foster nuisance, anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.

“If signs of disorder are not repaired/removed immediately, they can often attract further abuse and trigger a downward spiral of neglect and loss of environmental quality – giving the impression that such sites are not owned or cared for by anybody and that crime and disorder is tolerated.”

A spokesman for Thwaites’ brewery, which owned the Penny Farthing, described the claims of being duped as “scurrilous and untrue”.

They said: “We are caught up in this completely innocently – Thwaites had nothing to do with the community deciding to withdraw its interest in registering the pub as an Asset of Community Value.

“We entered the contract with the original purchaser in good faith and when it fell through we had no option but to find another buyer. The office of the local MP was kept updated throughout.

“Any suggestion that there was some kind of set-up or that people were duped by us is scurrilous and untrue.”

One Reply to “Fury over Penny Farthing pub demolition plans”

  1. To whom it may concern, I strongly disagree with the plans for houses to be built so close to my property. Number 7/8 will be over looking my house, this means it will be blocking the light in my garden putting the full garden in shade, for years I have had to put up with the over grown conifers putting part of the garden in shade now your suggesting houses, I will have no privacy when sitting ,sunbathing , even just hanging washing or working in the garden I will have no privacy at all. My conservatory ,bedrooms , and bathroom will be over looked giving me absolutely no privacy at any time day or night. Bungalows would be a better option for everybody. I do not agree with your plans and will fight this all the way.

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