THE fight to save a historic St Annes pub is being billed as a test case.
That’s how campaigners trying to stop the Victoria Hotel from being demolished and turned into retirement apartments envisage the looming battle.
They say a planning appeal in April will put the Government’s Localism Bill to the test.
The ambitious campaigners – who have launched a takeover bid to buy and run their cherished Church Road pub – have already formed the Victoria Central Ward Community Association under the Community Interest Companies (CICs) venture – a type of limited company designed specifically for those wishing to operate for the benefit of the community rather than the owners of the company.
Fylde councillor Ed Nash is leading the campaigners.
“We had a meeting last week at the pub with over 120 there,” he said. “It’s quite unique being made into a public inquiry, it’s not something that normally would happen. We think it is a test case for Localism.”
The Victoria was saved when planning councillors rejected plans for it to be turned into retirement apartments by applicants McCarthy and Stone in December.
The Victoria, a managed house, belongs to the Spirit Pub Company, who say they are still contractually bound to McCarthy and Stone for its sale.
Coun Nash said: “People are starting to rally round and say - why are you forcing this on us.”
The appeal is due to take place at the United Reformed Church, St George’s Road, St Annes, on April 24.