If we fail to protect our pubs, we will be left weaker - MP McMahon

Date published: 24 May 2021

Oldham West and Royton MP Jim McMahon has issued a warning that our communities will be left weaker if we do not protect local pubs.

Speaking about the issue over the weekend, the Oldham MP said: “Not all pubs have reopened, some may never welcome regulars again.

“Pub closures have been a running concern as many which lined main roads, served local estates and communities are lost for ever.

"Unfortunately too often we see poor quality conversions or complete demolition.

“The old boozer, which was the centre of work and community life, feels increasingly a thing of the past as habits change and so too does the industry, with a much greater shift to food and dining.

“For many working class communities the housing which sprung up to accommodate the mill and factory workers which were such a strong feature of towns like Chadderton, Oldham and Royton were interspersed with buildings of note which stood out; churches, banks, and pubs.

“Each added to the character of the neighbourhoods they served and in the case of the church and the pub were where people came together.

"As church attendance diminishes, they too are under significant threat, and with them the risk that another historic building could be lost.

“While there is little any government can or should do in tackling declining church attendance, it must have a better plan to deal with the historic building left behind.

"And for the local pub much more should be done to step in and provide communities the support they need to stop the loss of what can still be viable assets.

“More must be done to give power to communities to come together and fight to save their local pub.

"They are not just places to drink, they are places to socialise, to feel connected and to be part of a community.

The former Bridgewater pub in Hollinwood

"As isolation and loneliness only seems to get worse, it is vital we do not loose viable facilities.”

“When the Bowling Green pub at Hollinwood faced demolition to make way for (another) KFC and Starbucks Drive-Thru the response in support of its loss pointed to the nearby Spinners Arms and Bridgewater Inn.

"As we emerge from the pandemic and the terrible impact on hospitality it is clear we will see some pubs never return.

"Today the boards remain on the Spinners Arms, and the metal shutters lock out the old regulars from the Bridgewater Inn, with local rumours it may become (another) McDonalds Drive-Thru.

“None of us expect a pub with few customers to remain open while the owner takes the hit.

"But it is a fact that some pubs which have a following are being put at risk just because they are seen as ripe development opportunities, either by property developers or multi-national corporations keen to see every high street and main road a carbon copy.

“The Co-operative Party which I chair has the Love It? List It! Campaign to help communities take the first step to protect local places like parks, pubs and post offices from being sold-off.

"We're aiming to list over 1,000 local spots as assets of community value and fighting to give communities more powers to protect and eventually own the local places that bind them together."

To begin the process of nominating and protecting an Asset of Community Value, you can fill in a simple form and find out more information about the process and the Love it? List It! Campaign here

Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in and around Oldham? Let us know by emailing news@oldham-chronicle.co.uk , calling our Oldham-based newsroom on 0161 633 2121 , tweeting us @oldhamchronicle or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Oldham Chronicle and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Oldham Chronicle offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer, please consider supporting us financially and help Oldham Chronicle to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Oldham Chronicle