|A sign in the Roscoe Head|
On four separate occasions, Punch Taverns refused to sell the pub to the licensee Carol Ross because, they said, the Roscoe Head was part of their core estate. Suddenly, and with very little notice to Carol, it was redesignated non-core and sold to New River, who are a property development company with a record of closing and converting pubs. The only assurance New River have given is that there are no plans to redevelop the Roscoe Head or any other pubs they've recently acquired into convenience stores "at this stage". There is no guarantee about conversion into something other than a convenience store, or how long "this stage" will last.
The Roscoe Head is a popular, attractive and well-maintained pub. None of the usual arguments about pub closures - run down, not well used, economically unviable - apply here. There's no doubt that many pubs sit on prime sites that can produce a bonanza if redeveloped, but that fact alone isn't a good argument to redevelop them. The Roscoe Head is very much a locals pub near the city centre, and is popular with a range of pub goers, not just real ale drinkers. Regrettably we live in an age of rampant capitalism that defines everything by its monetary price, with little regard to its real value by other, more human measures.
Here is a petition to Liverpool City Council to register the Roscoe Head as an Asset of Community Value (AVC), whereby planning permission is required to change a building's use or to demolish it.
There is a demo planned outside the pub at 2.00pm next Saturday 12 September. I suspect there may be some refreshment associated with the event.