A GROUP of residents has vowed to protect their local pub after recent interest from developers.

The Blue Bell, Mount Pleasant, Mickley has been trading throughout lockdown and plans are afoot to open the new ‘Stables Bar’ in an outbuilding as restrictions are eased.

The pub, owned by Trust Inns, has been on the market for over a year and has recently had its price reduced.

A planning application had been submitted to build three homes on the pub car park, with the sale advertised as having “considerable scope for a range of uses, subject to the granting of relevant permissions”.

“The Blue Bell is the last remaining public amenity on Mount Pleasant since the closure of the chapel in 2018”, said Mount Pleasant resident and member of Friends of the Blue Bell Minnie Fraser.

“And we are prepared to fight to keep it trading as a pub. If our pub were to be lost, it would tear the heart out of our community.”

The group has since been granted Asset for Community Value (ACV)status and the planning application has been refused.

Minnie added: “Although it is a huge relief that the planning application has been refused, the pub is still on the market and we feel that the best way to protect it is to try and get into community ownership.

“ACV status means that the owners will not be allowed to sell it without giving the community the opportunity to bid for it.”

A community consultation will now assess local support for the move and is available at https://forms.gle/7zbgTrWFXnCsXdLV6. It will also be posted to households in Mickley and Stocksfield.

The group has been inspired by the successful community purchases of the Rose and Crown, Slaley, and Ye Olde Cross, Ryton.