Hopes raised for historic pub’s future

The Crown at Worthington
The Crown at Worthington

A campaign group has welcomed the news a popular Wigan pub is back on the market raising hopes its future could be secured.

The Crown Hotel at Worthington closed last year with plans later submitted to the town hall to convert the site into a housing development.

The Save the Crown group pledged to fight to keep the facility and argued the owners had failed to market it appropriately for sale before moving on to the housing plan.

Last week a local sales firm confirmed it has now been given permission by liquidators to put the Crown back on the market at a “realistic price.”

Campaign group spokesperson Heidi Lipscombe told the Observer: “We just want The Crown to have a fighting chance to continue as a pub, like it has done for around 150 years.

“This building was the beating heart of our community and it has been devastating to see it dark and empty for the past 16 months.

“It being marketed as a going concern holds out the possibility of it once again being a terrific place to eat and drink and be the centre of our community.

“We will be watching closely to see if the building is being marketed comprehensively.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of housing being built close to The Crown - we don’t need any more. But we do need buildings of character and community pubs.”

The campaign has argued that the pub was marketed originally for way over its true value, which meant that it could not be proved that the building and site was redundant.

The housing plan had been due to appear before town hall officers and the authority’s planning committee throughout last year but had been knocked off several agendas.

Planning documents stated the owner of the site - former landlord Dan Prince - “has attempted to sell The Crown as an ongoing concern since November 2012 with two different agents but have not had any interest in the business.”

And an online petition against the plans to build six houses on the site attracted more than 800 signatures.

Aspire, the Standish based firm appointed to handle the proposed sale, is marketing the property - as a “stunning freehold public house, restaurant, function rooms and letting rooms in an enviable trading position on the outskirts of Standish”.

The advertisement is requesting offers over £475,000 and states annual turnover for the business was £775k. A spokesman told the Observer the firm was expecting a “high level of interest”.

Ms Lipscombe added: “I would like to thank all the local residents and beyond who continue to help with our campaign, including Standish Voice, and who still believe that The Crown has a future.