The Roscoe Head was sold as part of Punch’s £53.5m sale of 158 pubs, and licensee of 20 years Carol Ross was only given 17 days notice about the deal – set to go through on 11 September.
But thanks to Ross's quick actions she has already been approved ACV status by Liverpool Council, and is awaiting official confirmation.
Ross told the PMA after being informed the Roscoe will be sold that she feared the deal would lead to NewRiver turning the pub into a convenience store when her lease runs out in 2021 – though NewRiver said it plans to keep the “vast majority” as pubs.
But the ACV status will enable Ross to submit a rival community bid if NewRiver apply to change the use of the pub.
Liverpool cllr Nick Small said: “This is great news. The Roscoe Head is a much-loved and unique pub. It really is a community pub. I’m pleased that the council has been able to act so quickly.
“I hope that this means Punch Taverns will now think again and look at selling the pub to the current landlady. But whatever happens, this means that the future of the Roscoe Head is now far more secure than it was a few weeks ago. It will be more difficult for it to be closed and converted into apartments or a supermarket.”
Punch Taverns said an ACV status would not impact the sale.
A spokesman said: "We would like to reiterate that all pubs have been sold as a going concern with the existing agreements remaining in place. We are in continued communication with all tenants who are affected and have been clear with this communication."
NewRiver bought 202 pubs from Marston’s in 2013, and has applied to add 64 convenience stores on the sites. But NewRiver’s property director Allan Lockhart told the PMA that only “one or two” include pub closures, with the vast majority built on surplus land.
The approach will be similar with Punch pubs.
“In some instances we need to redevelop surplus land into convenience stores or small scale residential developments. The pubs will benefit from the adjacent developments,” he said.
Ross wonders why the Ruscoe Head does not qualify as Punch’s “core” group, due to its success.
“We’ve been in the Good Pub Guide every year, and we’re award-winning,” she said.
“They don’t care that it’s a successful pub for 30 years. It’s all about the money, not about people or pubs.”
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