A campaign group’s bid to save their local community pub has been dealt a savage blow after the brewery closed it down without notice.
The High Grove pub in Gatley was initially earmarked for closure back in September last year but a group was quickly set up to help save it. The Friends of The High Grove successfully obtained an Asset of Community Value (ACV) from the local council which bought them six months of time in order to put together a bid to purchase the pub from Hydes Brewery. Similar moves have seen many pubs all over the country saved from closure and Hydes allegedly suggested that they would be prepared to sell to the group if they came up with a suitable offer.
But despite putting together a bid in conjunction with a successful local businessman, believed to be in excess of the asking price and providing the area not only with a traditional community pub but opportunity for future business and jobs in the area, the group’s offer was neither accepted or declined as they met a frustrating wall of silence from Hydes.
Once the ACV expired in April, the group and locals were informed that the pub would be remaining open ‘for the foreseeable future’ and hope remained that The High Grove would be taken over.
But these hopes were dashed literally overnight as regulars arrived for an evening drink to find closure notices pasted on the doors.
Bernie Price, a regular at The High Grove, was one of those who headed up The Friends of The High Grove campaign group, and he expressed their frustrations after news broke of the closure:
“This closure is like a knife through the heart of the community, there has been absolutely no contact from Hydes about our offer even though we were told by Hydes that if we offered the asking price the pub was ours” he said.
“On February 18th we were asked by Hydes for proof of finance of our offer which we delivered on February 20th but there was no further dialogue for three months after that.”
However Land Registry records suggest a deal was done to sell the pub a month before that.
Hydes declined to comment directly about the closure but issued the following press release:
“Hydes confirms that the Highgrove (sic) Pub, Silverdale Road, Gatley, was closed for trading on Monday 13th June 2016.
Unfortunately, despite investment over the years, this site has seen a steady decline in sales and reached a point, some months ago, where it was no longer commercially viable to operate the site as a public house.
An off-market sale for alternative use was completed on Thursday 16th June.”