THE fight is on to save one of the oldest pubs in Hyde after concerns a potential buyer would look to convert it into flats.
And councillors have vowed to oppose any scheme that would see the car park of Godley Hall Inn have houses put on.
Landlord and landlady of the 200-year-old establishment, Sue and Alan Hanson, were told they have just 12 weeks to leave after 18 years of service as the pub was put up for sale.
Apparent interest from Domenic Bardsley, who is not connected to the Bardsley construction firm, has raised fears, with people citing other former drinking establishments that have been turned into housing.
Now community members have set up a committee looking to save Grade-II listed Godley Hall Inn, either by buying it themselves or getting it listed as an asset of community value (ACV) so they can work with whoever takes it on.
Mike Doherty, who chaired a meeting at a packed pub on Tuesday, February 4, outlined the concerns.
“We found out it had been put up for sale just before Christmas,” he said.
“One of the interested parties has a history of buying pubs, letting them go to rack and ruin and converting them to residential properties.
“We’re not averse to the sale of the pub, as long as it remains a pub.
“Godley Hall Inn is one of the oldest pubs in the area, having been used since the early 1800s. We’re aware a lot of local establishments have been closing down but if this one goes, there is nothing nearby.
“The pub has a lot of emotional ties to people for a number of different reasons. People have had weddings there and things like that.”
The meeting was attended by Councillors Jim Fitzpatrick, Andrea Colbourne and Betty Affleck while they heard from Rick Clarke, who was part of a scheme that saw the Northumberland Arms in Marple Bridge bought by the community.
And Cllr Fitzpatrick made it very clear any planning application to build in the car park will be opposed by him and colleagues Betty and Joe Kitchen.
He said: “It’s an old farmhouse that was converted into a pub, so you could turn the pub back into a residential property as that’s what it used to be.
“But you can’t change the fabric of the building and my personal view is I don’t want it to become houses.”
Several people at the meeting said they were prepared to put money in to at least make a deposit on Godley Hall Inn, which is on the market for £225,000.
Owners Mike Radcliffe and Shaun Donohoe, who are thought to live in Mottram, are thought to have made the decision to sell because the pub is not making enough money.
And agents Fleurets, who describe it as ‘sold, subject to contract’ describe it as a ‘traditional olde worlde inn’ that may also suit alternative use, subject to planning permission.
A Facebook group rocketed in popularity, with about 600 people signing up within a week of ot being set up.
And a formal committee was formed after 21 people – the number required for an application to make it an ACV – put their name forward.
And Mike, 35, believes saving the property, which lies in the shadow of the Kerry Foods factory, can make sure any community spirit can remain.
He added: “The nearest pub is probably the Harehill Tavern or The Sportsman but people from Godley would have to drive there.
“Whereas people who come here come in from areas like Flowery Field.
“All I’ve ever known is the pub being here and it’s one of the focal points of the area. There are very few shops in Godley too, so there wouldn’t be much community if this goes.
“People come here to talk to other people. If the pub goes, that will go.”