MP Simon Danczuk has slammed the “audacity" of a Home Counties property firm who are plotting to turn a beloved Rochdale pub into a vet’s surgery.
The Bull’s Head in Smallbridge could be facing last orders after Kent based owners Prontoserve applied for permission to convert the property.
Tenants Paul Quinn and Kay Bevan, who have run the thriving local community pub for five years, only discovered the plans when they were posted on a lamppost outside the property.
In its submission to Rochdale Council, Prontoserve claimed that the Bull’s Head has “suffered a loss of trade over the last few years and is becoming run down” and that the conversion is essential to “revitalise the building”.
After visiting the pub and speaking with many of the regulars, Mr Danczuk said: “I cannot believe the audacity of this Southern based firm attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of planning inspectors and councillors with this untrue statement.
“The Bull’s Head is a textbook example of the kind of invaluable local pub which we want to see remain in our town.
“It is a thriving business which serves the surrounding community with distinction, any suggestion that it is “run down” is absolutely not true.
“Not only does it provide a vital point of contact for both older and younger customers but over the years the tenants and regulars have raised thousands for Rochdale’s Springhill Hospice.
“I have already sent a formal letter of objection to these plans and I will continue to fight to make sure the council is not duped by Prontoserve's twisting of the facts.”
The pub has two pool and darts teams and has recently offered to host the regular meetings of the Smallbridge Tenants & Residents Association.
As well as providing B&B accommodation to visiting contractors, the pub’s customers also make significant contributions to local taxi firms and other businesses.
Landlord Paul said: “It’s not just putting the five people here out of a job, the knock on effect for the whole community would be huge.”
Paper and online petitions have already attracted hundreds of signatures and messages of support from former regulars as far afield as Spain and Ireland.
Bull’s Head regular Graham Ralph, 66, said: “In this day and age it takes just a few seconds to find out what’s going on in Australia. But we had to find out about this from a piece of laminated paper on a lampost!
“Everyone knows each other here and we look out for each other. There will be a lot of lonely people if this place closes.
“This is a thriving business, it’s unbelievable what they are doing.”