Pub demolition part of ‘bigger picture’ says councillor

PETITION ... the Roadhouse pub manager Tracey Nesbitt is angry over closure plan.
PETITION ... the Roadhouse pub manager Tracey Nesbitt is angry over closure plan.

EMOTIONS ran high as a 1,000-name petition was handed over yesterday to save a pub in South Tyneside from the bulldozer.

Tracey Nesbitt, licensee of the Roadhouse in Victoria Road, Hebburn, handed the petition to the Hebburn Community Area Forum.

There are fears the watering hole will be demolished by South Tyneside Council, which is bidding to buy the site, on the market for £165,000, as part of the ambitious £12m Hebburn hub scheme.

Supported by a dozen regulars, Mrs Nesbitt was left frustrated by the protocols of the forum, which met at The Iona Club in Station Road, and the fact members were unable to answer her questions.

She asked Coun Eddie McAtominey, a representative for Hebburn South: “Why do you want to knock our pub down?”

He said: “I am looking at a bigger picture. We deserve a first-class community centre in Hebburn and if certain things have to go to make it a better environment for all, that may be the case.

“If you want to go along and place a bid for the pub, then you are welcome to do so.”

Petitioners were told they could hand in the petition but would have to wait until the next meeting for answers to their question.

The pub is run by LT Pub Management on behalf of the defunct Anglo Irish Bank.

The council confirmed it is attempting to buy the pub as part of the hub scheme, which could include its demolition.

Planning permission was granted in June for the new two-storey hub, covering 5,452 sq m.

In addition to a new swimming pool, library and learning centre, it will incorporate a fitness suite, sports hall, dance studio, play area and café.

Mrs Nesbitt said: “This pub is very important to people – we’ve collected just under 1,000 signatures. I just hope that the council listen and see how much it means, and decide not to knock it down.”

Regulars are also trying to get the pub recognised as a community asset as it has served locals for almost 100 years, making it one of the oldest in the borough.

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