A well-known South Tyneside pub it is to be sold as part of multi-million-pound regeneration plans.
Council chiefs are on the verge of snapping up the Victorian era Rose and Crown – known as the Rosie - at Holborn, in Hill Street, South Shields.
Although the pub is likely to remain open for business for at least 12 months, regulars fear it may then be demolished.
It sits next to a stretch of prime riverside redevelopment land.
Owner Pat Johnston, inherited the Rosie following the death of her brother, Bob Overton, 68, in February.
She now lives in New Zealand and has no intention of returning to England.
In a leter to staff and customers, she says that ‘with a sad and heavy heart’ she has no choice but to sell it to South Tyneside Council as part of it’s regeneration plans.
She says the regenartion work would be bad for business and that she has also been told the building has inherent foundation weaknesses and will cost up to £100,000 to upgrade inside and out.
She said she has tried selling it as a going concern, but to no avail.
She said: “We have records going back more than 180 years and it shows the structure being supported by surrounding buildings. They have gone leaving The Rosie has to stand on its own as it were, solely dependent on its own foundations.
“The South Tyneside Council plans are to possibly move a colossal amount of earth surrounding it and we don’t think the Rosie would survive such a dramatic disruption, both financially or structurally.”
She adds: “We have exhausted all options and have no choice but with a sad and heavy heart, have had to sell to South Tyneside Council as part of their regeneration plans.
“We know a lot of people will be very sad and disappointed, but we hope you will all understand and be compassionate with our decision.”
A council spokesman said: “We can confirm that South Tyneside Council is in the process of acquiring the Rose and Crown pub as part of the ongoing regeneration of Holborn and South Shields riverside.”
Customers voiced fears that the premises is on a stay of execution and will ultimately be pulled down.
One said: “After Bob died, we have all wondered about what the future will hold for it. His sister lives far away, and so a sale has always looked likely.
“The Rose and Crown is a place of great tradition and friendliness. It would be a tremendous shame if it was demolished, but we’ll have to wait and see.”