Responding to the allegations, Admiral said it refuted the claims and had done everything it could to secure the venues future.
The Lincoln Imp in Scunthorpe was boarded up in August last year, with plans to build flats on the site submitted to north Lincolnshire Council a few months earlier, in May 2022.
According to the application, the proposed development would involve “demolition of the public house and the erection of a two-storey residential consisting of 20 dwellings”.
However, the plans were rejected in August 2022 as the proposal would result in the “unacceptable loss” of a “valued community facility”, according to north Lincolnshire council.
The council added the site was unsuitable for such a development, claiming there would be an “insufficient provision of private amenity open space for the future occupiers of the proposed units”.
Despite this, Admiral Taverns resubmitted the same application in August this year, and the plans were rejected for the same reasons on Monday 6 November.
Former landlady of the Lincoln Imp, Lorraine Briggs, who was at the helm of the pub from 2014 until it’s closure, said the venue was an “amazing place” and she “can’t understand” why Admiral closed the site.
Briggs, who lived at the site, also claimed the communication from the pubco regarding the planning application and subsequent closure had been poor.
She alleged herself and the holding company at the time were left “in the dark” and that the pub was closed abruptly.
Briggs, who described the Lincoln Imp as an “iconic” part of Scunthorpe, added in the time since Admiral closed the site, the venue had been left to turn to “rack and ruin” having suffered two fires, smashed windows and fly tipping.
She said: “It’s unfair and I was angry with them. If you go on their resume, they say they are there for their customers, but they did nothing for the Lincoln Imp. They weren't bothered what the community thought or that [the Lincoln Imp] was a community asset.”
“It was very much a busy pub and a community hub; it served its local area very well."
However, a spokesperson from Admiral Taverns asserted the pubco takes "great pride" in helping licensees "run sustainable businesses".
"In the case of the Lincoln Imp, we have been doing everything we can to ensure a long-term future for this pub, holding proactive discussions with various relevant community stakeholders, including the Music Venue Trust, local councillors, council officers and through them, the wider community", the spokesperson continued.
The pub, which saw acts such as Gareth Gates and Paul Young perform there, was acquired by Admiral after being sold as part of a group of 19 other pubs by Heineken.
Local councillor Tony Gosling, who has been involved with the community and the Lincoln Imp for the last 16 years, added the venue had a longstanding reputation in Scunthorpe as a place where
regulars were “looked after”, as well as a renowned music venue, and drew in a good “football crowd”.
The councillor explained a local mental health group, called Break the Stigma, would regularly meet there and local bands would frequently have “jamming sessions”.
Gosling said: “It was very much a busy pub and a community hub; it served its local area very well.
“Then Admiral decided they were going to put in planning application for the site even though it was still an operating venue.”
Gosling added while the pub needed a “revamp” externally, Admiral could have invested more into the site and sought further “opportunities to work with the community” while still selling off part of the car park for development.
In addition, Gosling claimed there was “no facility like the Lincoln Imp” in Scunthorpe now, in particular for local bands.
He also stated there had been a “massive campaign” last year to save the venue from permanent closure as well as “reassurances from the local council leader and local MP” the “community facility” would be “retained”.
The Admiral spokesperson added: “Despite our extensive efforts we are struggling to find a solution under our ownership or a third party."