Bootle, Lydiate, all over South Sefton and beyond – Why Pubs are closing at an alarming rate – CAMRA

Campaigners outside the Priory Pub in Litherland trying to save it a while back.

Campaigners outside the Priory Pub in Litherland trying to save it a while back.

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Well this is an issue I have posted about quite a lot in recent times, most recently with regard to the demise of the Weld Blundell Pub in Lydiate – see photo and link to previous postings on this subject below:-

The Weld Blundell in happier times - 2008

The Weld Blundell in happier times – 2008

I think CAMRA’s comments are spot on in the Echo article – Tony Morgan, from the Liverpool branch of real ale society CAMRA, told the ECHO that the sale of cheap beer in supermarkets and a loop hole in planning law had contributed to the closure of so many pubs across south Sefton.

We will continue to lose pubs at a rate of knots if planning rules are not updated to afford some kind of protection for pubs. Pubco’s, who own many licensed premises, are in my view property development companies. Once the land becomes more valuable in a different use they will pursue that alternative. One day there will be few pubs left because as a society we have sat back and watched their demise whilst wringing our hands saying ‘oh that’s sad another local pub has gone’.

Closing Pubs – A mile of road in Litherland/Netherton sums up the difficulties for pubs

I have commented before on the troubles of the Priory Pub in Litherland and the Cabbage Inn Pub in Netherton. The Priory has just been demolished, much to the sadness of the local community who had been fighting for it to be saved. The Cabbage has been empty for some time now and awaits redevelopment.

But in between these two pubs, that are just over a mile apart, there are two others, one still surviving but the other well gone and demolished. So instead of 4 pubs in just over a mile one is left!

Starting at the closed Priory Pub which has been demolished over the last few of weeks:-

The Priory Pub prior to demolition

The Priory Pub prior to demolition

The site of the former Priory Pub after demolition on 20th March 2015

The site of the former Priory Pub after demolition on 20th March 2015

Next we come to the closed and demolished Liverpool Arms:-

The former Liverpool Arms Pub

The former Liverpool Arms Pub – photo credit Phil Wieland

Site of the former Liverpool Arms Pub demolished some time ago

Site of the former Liverpool Arms Pub demolished some time ago

And then on to an open pub! Cooksons Bridge:-

Cooksons Bridge Pub

Cooksons Bridge Pub

Then finally on to the closed Cabbage Inn:-

The Cabbage Inn

The Cabbage Inn

If this mile of road in Litherland and Netherton does not illustrate how our drinking habits have changed and the effect that this and other factors, such as the greed of Pub Co’s?, has had on a once flourishing trade I don’t know what does. Often a building that is much loved by the community is lost and The Priory seems to be one such Pub. They are landmarks, often used by people to give directions before the advent of sat nav’s but even now if you ask someone to tell you where ‘Fred and Mary’ live they may still say look out for the ‘Red Lion’ or some such pub name. But in future such landmarks will be gone and few will be left to admire as unique buildings often with their own architectural merit.

The Aintree (not on this length of road but in Bootle – see 2nd link above) was of course saved and it is now in another use so the building has been saved. Sadly, The Priory and The Liverpool Arms have gone for good. Why if they were not viable as Pub’s could they not have been converted into flats? Just a thought.

Let’s hope that Cooksons Bridge Pub continues to buck the trend!

Any errors in this article are mine and I am more than happy to correct them, so please get in touch if I have anything wrong.

British pubs dying out and its no different in Sefton Borough

Residential developers are targeting pubs to convert into homes, as many struggle to make ends meet. The Guardian newspaper cites figures from the Campaign for Real Ale, which show that 29 UK pubs a week are shutting down, double 2011’s rate. Around a third of the 1,722 pubs which shut last year were in London and the South East – highlighting the sheer demand for homes within the region.

Former Cabbage Inn - closed

Former Cabbage Inn – closed

This is a subject I have been following at a local level for some time now and yes our pubs are in crisis in Sefton Borough just like other places. Here’s a links to my previous postings on this subject:-

One thing that is rarely mentioned is that often these struggling and closing pubs are of real architectural merit and are landmarks in their community. Better that they find a new sustainable use than that they are demolished to be replaced with nondescript modern buildings.


Just as I was about to publish this posting I picked up on this:-

Pubs offered lifeline

Pubs considered important by local communities will no longer be converted by developers without planning permission under new legislation proposed by the government who say that over 600 pubs have been nominated as assets of community value so far. If memory serves the closed Priory Pub in Litherland is one of the 600.

The Daily Telegraph and Guardian covered this recently.

With thanks to the LGiU for some of the information in this posting.

CAMRA calls for change to save pubs

The Campaign for Real Ale has called for a change in legislation that would mean that a planning application is always needed before a pub is demolished or converted into another use, a change it believes would help protect the UK’s pubs, which are closing at a rate of 31 a week. “It is utterly perverse that developers are able to demolish or convert a pub into a convenience store, or many other uses, without any requirement to apply for planning permission,” stated CAMRA’s Tom Stainer.

The Guardian has run this story recently.

The campaigning around the now closed Priory Pub in Litherland comes to mind. My previous postings about the campaign are worth referring to:-

Campaigners outside the Priory Pub trying to save it.

Campaigners outside the Priory Pub trying to save it.

Saving pubs at risk of closure – Priory, Aintree & Cabbage – All in Bootle

CAMRA and the Local Government Information Unit recently collaborated on a report that found 28 UK pubs are closing every week. Public Houses: how councils and governments can save pubs also found that, since January 2012, at least 208 have been converted into supermarkets. CAMRA/LGiU cite the ease by which, under the Town and Country Planning Act (1995), drinking establishments can be converted into retail outlets without the approval of the local planning authority. While noting that “there is no magic bullet” to saving pubs, the report found that article 4 of the 1995 act, putting “change of use” of a building under the control of the local authority, has been used with some success, as has the Localism Act (2011), which enables communities to designate public houses as assets of community value.

Campaigners outside the Priory Pub trying to save it.

Campaigners outside the Priory Pub trying to save it.

This briefing from the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) popped up only a couple of days after Sefton Council’s Planning Committee had dealt with and indeed rejected unanimously a planning application to build flats on the site of the Priory Pub in Litherland.

I have posted about the campaign to save this pub before at:-

and at:-

The Planning Officers wanted the Planning Committee to agree to the application to build flats on the site but the answer from the Committee was a very clear NO! But why was that? Well it comes down to the kind of issues being put forward by CAMRA and the LGiU and the fact that we on the Planning Committee felt it was right to give a higher priority to the separate(ish) but related process that is presently ongoing for the campaigners to try to buy the site and reopen it as a pub.

Time is not on the campaigners side as the owner may decide to demolish the pub anyway. Couple that to the fact that lead and slates have been stripped from part of the roof by thieves and it is clearly a big ask. BUT, we backed the localism agenda against the planning application. Whether this will have a good outcome I don’t know but we have given the opportunity for that to happen I hope.

Cabbage Inn

Cabbage Inn

I mentioned the Aintree Pub in one of my previous postings but of course the Cabbage Inn in Netherton has also bitten the dust in recent times. All 3 pubs are within a couple of miles of each other and there will be others closing as well in Bootle and across the UK.

Aintree Pub – reused for a different business purpose

I have commented before on the closure of pubs; The Priory in Litherland being one where locals, in that case, have tried to move heaven and earth to save their pub.

Another one to go recently was The Aintree in Aintree Road Bootle and I feared that this architecturally interesting building could be demolished or significantly altered. However, it is being reused in a sensitive way by a motor factor company and the integrity of the interesting facade has been retained.


Although not an old building the herringbone brickwork shows that some imagination went into the design of this pub back in days when striking buildings were not uncommon as pubs.