In for the penny- community’s mission to save local pub

COMMUNITY figures are attempting to buy a closed pub to prevent it being lost to an area of Denton.

And they claim selling the Penny Farthing to a commercial developer would be a big loss and leave people feeling isolated.

Save the Penny Farthing community group members outside the pub

Brewers Thwaites are selling the pub, which shut its doors earlier this year, for £295,000.

Parties interested in taking it on were invited to an open viewing on Wednesday, April 3 and about two dozen cast their eye over it.

But as former licensee Ben Jordan cleared his belongings out of the St Anne’s Road establishment, which is boarded up, members of the Save The Penny group outlined their aims.

They hope 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.

Katy Robinson of the group, which will hold further meetings at the Cock Hotel in Haughton Green and aims to set up as a registered charity in future, said: “We want it to be a pub but also a community enterprise.

“The Penny Farthing is a real focal point for the community and there are a lot of older people in the area, many of whom may feel cut off now the pub has closed.

“For it to be sold privately will be a real shame.

“If we get it, it would need a lot of cosmetic work but we could make it a real community asset.

“We would also need planning permission to change the use of part of it. We hope to have part of the building as a nursery/creche and also somewhere meetings could be held and even classes or courses.”

Almost 200 people are already in the Save The Penny group. Now it hopes to go on to the next stage, ideally deciding what to do with the Penny Farthing when it gets its hands on it.

Audra Bickerdyke, who works at HMP Styal in Cheshire, already believes a garden that is being made for display at the Chelsea Flower Show can 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.”

Agents Fleurets describe the Penny Farthing as, ‘a detached two storey property with substantial single storey additions with brick elevations and multi-pitched tiled roof and part flat.

‘Car park on either side of the building for a total of 35 vehicles. A number of picnic tables forming a patio area. There is a smoking shelter to the front of the building.’

A licence still remains in place should anyone wish to take it on and fixtures and fittings that remain on the premises at the time of completion will be included in the sale.

Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne lives nearby and is backing the group’s plans, saying:

“Since the closure, a number of local residents have formed a group and have now applied to Tameside Council to have the Penny registered as a community asset – a new power that gives the community six months to get together a plan, and the finance to buy and take over a pub.

“I don’t know whether it’ll succeed but I’m fully supporting those local residents on this and I hope Thwaites will hold off on any sale until the community’s application is heard by the council.

“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.”

Thwaites’ brewery believes it could be sold and reopened as a pub.

A spokesman said: “The Penny Farthing, Denton, is a great pub in a lovely community. After much thought and consideration we have decided to put it up for sale.

“It’s not a decision that we have taken lightly, however it is the right one for us.

“It is good to see the strength of feeling in the community, we know many people have made many memories through visiting the pub.

“We are confident that it could continue to be a thriving pub, particularly in light of such community support.”

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