A ROW is brewing over the sale of a Victorian pub to South Tyneside Council.
The council announced last week that it had stepped in and bought The Roadhouse, in Victoria Road West, Hebburn.
Regulars feared the pub faced the bulldozers as part of the £12.8m Hebburn hub scheme.
Locals collected a 1,000-name petition to save the pub, which dates back to the 1860s, after it passed into the hands of administrators following the collapse of the Portfolio company in 2010.
But Hebburn-based businessman Bob Hamilton claims his bid for The Roadhouse was accepted before South Tyneside Council successfully bought the pub.
Mr Hamilton, whose background is project management and construction consultancy, including the oil and gas industry, has blasted both the council and property specialists Christie + Co, who he claims accepted his offer by e-mail, before the sale to the council was announced.
Mr Hamilton, managing director of Taypride Ltd, who maintains he would have invested in The Roadhouse, added: “I and my solicitor have been seeking documentation to conclude the sale.
“I will now seek further legal advice in follow-up to this whole affair.”
A spokesman for Christie + Co said: “As the matter is subject to ongoing correspondence with the complainant, we are unable to comment further at this stage.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “After the council accepted an application for The Roadhouse to be listed as an asset of community value, it voluntarily agreed to step back for a period to allow the community group which lodged the application to buy the pub itself.
“The Roadhouse had been up for sale on the open market for around nine months prior to the listing as an asset of community value being made.
“The council did not withdraw its bid with a view to releasing the pub for sale on the open market, but rather for the community group to follow up on their intention to purchase the property.
“The council was notified by Christie + Co that no bid had been put forward by the community group.
“We were also informed that an unknown private individual had come forward with a bid during this period.
“The council has now acquired the building and will work with the current tenant to ensure the building reflects the wider regeneration taking place in Hebburn.”
Tracey Nesbitt, tenant of The Roadhouse, declined to comment on the sale of the pub to South Tyneside Council.