A council has stepped in to buy a North East pub to give it the chance to avoid closure.
Earlier this year, The Roadhouse in Victoria Road West, Hebburn, was listed as an Asset of Community Value following an application to the South Tyneside Council from locals.
Following the listing, the council gave the local community the opportunity to acquire the pub.
It had been passed into the hands of administrators after the collapse of the Portfolio company in 2010. Now the council has stepped back in to buy the property.
It will be asking the existing tenant for a robust business plan demonstrating both the viability of the business, and what investment and improvements will be made to turn the Roadhouse into an asset of real community value.
Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “We stepped aside at the time to give the community a chance to put forward a bid of their own after some local people made it clear they wanted the Roadhouse to remain open.
“Unfortunately, this has not happened and, although a private individual has come forward with a bid, we understand that it does not include plans to invest in the property.
“We simply could not risk the pub being left without investment, detracting from the major regeneration we are undertaking in the town centre, and with the possibility that we might need to intervene later at increased cost to the council.”
The local authority has reviewed its position to ensure that whatever happens to the building, it reflects the desire of local people to have a high-quality family pub for the benefit of both its visitors and the wider community.
Early discussions will be held with the existing tenant about the viability of the business, and how they will invest in and improve both the building and the customer offer and experience.
Coun Malcolm said: “The council is moving forward with its ambitious plans for the regeneration of Hebburn Town Centre, with work on a Community Hub underway, unloved maisonette blocks demolished, new school buildings completed and new homes being built.
“This is an exciting time for Hebburn and we cannot allow the Roadhouse to deteriorate while progress is made all around it.”
Work started on the £12.8m Hebburn Community Hub in November last year, with the two-storey building set to include a six-lane swimming pool, a learner pool, fitness suite, sports hall, dance studio, soft play area, library, learning centre and cafe, as well as meeting rooms and a customer service centre.
The scheme, which aims to make the town centre more attractive to investors as well as providing first-class services to residents, is set for completion in spring 2015.