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Petitions fail to stop closures of two Walsall pubs

Walsall | News | Published:

Two pubs were today facing permanent closure in Walsall after new plans were backed by the council, despite a total almost 750 objections to the proposals.

Permission for the Red Cow in Pelsall to be converted into a house was passed by the planning committee while support was also given to a scheme to replace the Magic Lantern in Beechdale with shops.

Campaigners hoping to save both pubs have lodged nominations for them to be listed as assets of community value, handing them hopes of a last ditch reprieve.

A decision on whether to list them will be made within the next eight weeks, and if successful it will allow the communities time to put together offers for the premises.

Despite this ongoing process Walsall Council granted formal planning approval for proposals which would lead to both pubs being forced to call last orders at a meeting last night.

Moves to change the Magic Lantern, off Cavendish Road, prompted a 377-name petition and eight letters of objection.

Owners Red Star Estates Limited highlighted the financial downturn for wanting to close the pub as it is losing £1,500 a week. Bosses said money made from shops would help safeguard the future of its other drinking establishments in the borough.

But Birchills and Leamore councillor Tina Jukes, who has been leading the campaign to keep the Magic Lantern open, told councillors: "This is a family pub. There is never any trouble, there is never any mess. Beechdale can't sustain any more shops."

Ward councillor Lee Jeavons, a member of the committee, proposed a motion moving refusal over the increased anti-social behaviour the development would bring. But members voted in favour of the proposals. Leader Mike Bird, vice-chairman of the planning meeting, said: "A business can only survive by making a profit."

Plans to covert the Red Cow in Allens Lane were also given the go-ahead. A petition attracted more than 300 signatures. People said it was a meeting point for residents and would take something away from the community if it was to go.

However applicants claimed the Marston's pub is no longer viable and there were nine alternative pubs within a three to 15 minute walk. The meeting was told there had been an alternative proposal put forward to take over the pub and offer Asian cuisine.

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