A popular Wigan pub could be flattened for office space and car parking following a controversial buy-out by a local vehicle hire and sales company.
Staff at the Amberswood Tavern, in Ince, have pulled their last pint after reportedly finding out just days ago that the pub would be sold to Westwood Motor Group, which is planning to expand its site.
The move has shocked regulars to the Manchester Road tavern, who in 2014, fought tooth and nail against the owners – Dorbiere Pub Group – to prevent the same deal from going ahead.
In a bid to reassure residents, Westwood Motor Group have spoken out about their plans for the site, which they hope will boost the local economy and create several more job opportunities, including senior level positions within the company.
A spokesperson for the company said: “There has been some speculation regarding our acquisition of Amberswood Tavern.
“To clarify, Westwood Motor Group are expanding operations, and upgrading our head office facility in Wigan.
“We have invested £550,000 into the expansion. This began when we acquired the land at the rear of Amberswood Tavern in 2013.
“Just recently, the expansion has come into fruition as we get the five year in-planning project underway.
“Amberswood Tavern, which we understand is a historical community pub, was put up for sale. As we were expanding, this caught our attention, and so we decided to buy. The reason for this is much-needed office space and car parking.
“Recently, we began concreting the additional land at the back, which is surrounded by security fencing. Of course, all of this is creating one of the largest sales and hire operations in the North West. “
“As we continue to grow, we seek to create eight additional positions.
“There are several charitable donations we make, and we consistently seek out causes to help out within the Wigan community wherever and whenever appropriate.”
A spokesperson for Dorbiere Pub Group, said: “The pub trade in the UK has been going through a very difficult time over the past 10 years, with over 38 pubs closing down a week at the height of this.
“Unfortunately, The Amberswood Tavern has become unviable as a pub, and it is with sincere regret that we have had to make difficult decision to close it down.
“The property has been sold for alternative use, as have had many other pubs in the UK. It has been reported over 60 per cent of pubs are sold for alternative use in the UK due to the impact of trade in this sector.
“We would like to sincerely thank all our customers over the years for their continued support of the pub, and would like to thank all the managers and staff who have work for us, especially the current manager and staff, as this is a very difficult time.”