In less than seven days, doubt has been cast on the future of two of Bury’s pubs. In Ramsbottom, the onetime Good Beer Guide stalwart and corner pin of the Rammy crawl, the Good Samaritan, has been having extensive renovation work. And, despite earlier soundings suggesting a positive future, the reality looks somewhat different.
In a planning application to Bury Council, the Glasgow based owners have signalled their intent for the Peel Brow premises. And that is to operate it as a restaurant. Submitted plans signify toilets and kitchen downstairs and main dining on the ground floor. The previously private upstairs area is to accommodate overflow seating and a function room.
Meanwhile, the future looks even grimmer for the Bird I’Th Hand on Manchester Road. Another ex GBG pub, this mid-terrace boozer has been ordered to remain closed by the local authority licensing committee.
Originally closed voluntarily by Admiral Taverns after a number of complaints, the premises licence has now been withdrawn after an intervention by the police. This means that the pubco will have to reapply-basically start from scratch-if it wants to reopen the pub.
Sadly, history tells us that this is unlikely and it’s much more likely that Admiral will cut its losses. The terraced boozer is a dying breed; what with changing drinking patterns and new neighbours much less tolerant than in the past to have a public house as a neighbour.
What is frustrating in cases such as the BIH is that the licensing committee seems much less disposed to them than their town centre rivals. Community locals are quickly judged and dealt with harshly. Meanwhile, town centre licensed premises are given chance after chance. It’s almost as if they make more money for the authority?