Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Emmerdale's Woolpack closing down

The closure of a pub featured in a soap opera could have been avoided if the Government had not scrapped a plan for community ownership, the Campaign for Real Ale said.

The pub is famous as The Woolpack in Emmerdale and will close because its tenant is leaving. It is tied to Enterprise Inns and the current tenant is struggling because of rising rents and high beer prices.

Mike Benner, Camra's chief executive, 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 pubs minister John Healey announced the plan in March 2010. The previous government promised £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 said news of the Woolpack's closure would be a blow to residents in the area.

He said: "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."

Local Government minister Grant Shapps said: "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."

The pub used to stand in for the Woolpack is in the village of Esholt, near Shipley in West Yorkshire.


From Belfast Telegraph