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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Owner fails in last-ditch bid to stop Cumbrian pub being bulldozed

Demolition work has started on an historic Cumbrian pub despite last-minute efforts to stop the bulldozers.

Roberta Cooper, owner of The Anchor in Main Street, Frizington, failed in an eleventh hour bid to save the pub saying she wanted to turn the dilapidated premises into a B&B.

The demolition men moved in yesterday.

Copeland council ruled that Ms Cooper had declined previous opportunities to improve the state of the building, and started the demolition process as a “last resort”.

A team from Copeland moved on Wednesday morning to remove the fixtures and fittings.

The building itself started to come down yesterday.

Ms Cooper, of Winder, bought the pub in 1997 and after spending the next three years renovating, opened on Millennium night.

It closed 18 months later and has since fallen into disrepair and has become a target for vandals.

Frizington parish council has, for many years, campaigned for its demolition.

Speaking this week, Ms Cooper said: “It is in poor condition but that’s only because of the vandalism; the building itself is structurally sound.

“It doesn’t help regenerate the area by knocking a fine old building down.

“I had to put the plans for The Anchor on the back-burner while I raised some finances elsewhere, but now I’m ready to start work. I was fabulous when it was open and could be again.”

She added that she had approached English Heritage to have the building listed due to its historical significance, but was unsuccessful in a request to delay the demolition process so it could be investigated.

Pat Graham, Copeland’s corporate director for people and places, said: “Back in 2008, residents told us they thought The Anchor was an ‘eyesore’ and asked us to do something about it. We listened, and I am pleased we have now reached the stage where people living nearby will not have this rundown building in the heart of Frizington.

“For a long time we have encouraged the owner to undertake appropriate work on the building to improve its appearance, but nothing happened despite having several opportunities to do so.

“A legal notice was issued and not complied with.

“The pub fell further into disrepair and became a magnet for vandals,” added Ms Graham.

“Demolition is a last resort and it is always sad to see a once useful building disappear.

“But we do have to protect the community from the effects of dilapidated buildings, which can be far ranging – for example it discourages investment, encourages crime and works against the efforts of proud residents who want to live in an attractive area.

“We have acted on behalf of the community and the demolition will remove what has been a blight for local people for years.”

The building is said to be 150 years old and was built by a sea captain from Frizington.

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