REGULARS of a pub which shut its doors in 2014 have had their hopes of re-opening it dashed because, they say, the building was left to deteriorate.
Ed Claridge, of Dayhouse Bank, and three of his friends were on a mission to bring The Manchester Inn, in Romsley, back to life after Punch Taverns sold it on August, 26, this year and it was up again for auction with CP Bigwoods.
But when Ed, Eammon McGowan, Charlie Waldron and Leigh Powell went to see the pub last Wednesday (October 7), they were shocked to see it had not been secured properly and had been ‘ransacked’.
The 61-year-old said the copper piping had been stolen, the kitchen had been completely ripped out, the ceilings were coming down and the floors were buckling.
“We were absolutely devastated,” he added.
“When it first closed in October last year you could have opened it the next day, now it is completely wrecked.
“Punch Tavern strikes again, they have absolutely no interest in the communities where their pubs reside and we are thoroughly disappointed in their lack of concern.”
Mr Claridge estimated it would cost between £200,000 and £250,000 to make the inn fit for purpose again.
“We had the money in place to buy the pub but it is clear it had been left to rot.
“It is now cheaper to just knock it down.”
He claimed it looked like Punch Taverns had not secured the premises properly, alarmed it comprehensively or provided security over the last 12 months.
“These burglaries were not done on one occasion but over a long period of time.
“This was people going in and out and helping themselves to what was there.”
On the auctioneer’s website it stated the council was open to the land being recommended for housing.
“It is such a shame that the community is going to lose yet another pub,” added Ed.
Paul Richards, the president of Redditch and Bromsgrove CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), said: “We hope the Manchester Inn will continue to remain a pub.
“It will be a shame for the community if it does go because there are not many pubs in that area.
“We would urge the local community to get together and get the Manchester Inn listed as an asset of community value.”
We approached Punch Taverns for a comment and a spokesperson told us: “To confirm, Punch Taverns sold the freehold of the Manchester Inn in August this year.”
The auction, where the Manchester Inn is listed, will take place at 11am on Thursday (October 22) at Aston Villa Football Club.
The guide price for the building, which is lot 29, is in excess of £185,000.