Government condemned for failing to save legendary Emmerdale pub

Government condemned for failing to save legendary Emmerdale pub



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The famous Woolpack pub featured in the soap Emmerdale is closing down, but it could have been saved by the Government had they not scrapped a plan for community ownership – according to the campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

The pub in Esholt, West Yorkshire, is best known for being the local in the ITV soap Emmerdale a decade ago, before producers moved filming to a new location.
The Woolpack’s current tenant has decided to leave due to financial struggles, caused by rising rents and high beer prices.
Mike Benner, Camra’s chief executive, spoke to the Press Association and criticised the Government for ditching the community-owned pubs plan earlier this month.
He said: “No doubt the tight-knit (albeit fictional) community in Emmerdale would jump at the chance to buy this icon of a pub together, but unfortunately the Government have recently scrapped plans to provide over £4 million to provide support for community-owned pubs.
“Without financial support, communities simply cannot afford to keep their pubs afloat.”
Former housing minister John Healey announced the plan in March 2010, with the previous government promising £3.3 million to support community ownership of pubs – administered through the Plunkett Foundation – and a further £1 million to a similar programme called Pub is the Hub.
Mr Healy told the Press Association that the closure of the Woolpack would be a blow to residents in the local area.
“We've all got a favourite Woolpack, Rovers Return or Queen Vic that helps bond our communities and the closure of this pub will be sad news to local people. Camra is doing great work to champion the community importance of well-run pubs and I will carry on helping them and others in the industry reinforce that case with the LibCon Government,” he said.
However, Local Government minister Grant Shapps rebutted the former minister’s comment, telling the Press Association: “We should take no lectures from former Labour ministers who presided over the closure of 3,500 pubs when they were in government.
“Labour hiked taxes on pubs and did nothing to stop unfair loss-leading by supermarkets.”
Enterprise Inns own the Yorkshire pub and the former tenant spoke to the Metro newspaper, saying she hopes it doesn’t take too long before they get someone else in. She added: “We’ll be back for a pint when they do.”
Enterprise Inns commented on the pub’s closure, saying: “Mr and Mrs McGrath have temporarily closed the Woolpack and we are in discussions with them. We will provide an update once we are in a position to do so.”
By Dawn Murden

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