North-east brewer Thwaites has sold a Blackburn pub on the condition that it will not be run as a pub again — the new owner plans to convert it to a home.
The Gibraltar was sold with a restrictive covenant in place, which prevents its continued use as a pub.
The news comes despite protests from the 1,700 members of two Facebook groups, Blackburn & District Pubs (Past & Present) and Closed Pubs of Blackburn.
Daniel Thwaites director of pub operations Andrew Buchanan, confirmed that the Gibraltar closed on Sunday 11 April, adding that an agreement to sell the pub had been reached.
"The company does not make decisions to dispose of pubs lightly, every pub is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The rationale for our decision in this regard is to support a sustainable future for local pubs in areas where current pub density is unsustainable in the current market. In a very limited number of instances, we may place a restrictive covenant on the property's future use. In doing so we are trying to encourage a viable pub industry in the teeth of all of the pressures currently faced by the sector."
The Campaign for Real Ale has been campaigning for the removal of pub companies' right to impose restrictive covenants on pubs when selling them.
Following criticism, a number of pubcos agreed to stop the practice. Enterprise Inns said it stopped using the covenants last June, saying it would now let the market decide which pubs should remain as pubs.