A HISTORIC building in Penketh has been saved from demolition after plans to knock down the Sportsmans Arms were refused.

Controversial blueprints to demolish the pub on Warrington Road were thrown out following objections from residents, borough and parish councillors.

Developers sought planning permission to knock down the existing public house and build a food store in its place.

Netto had been earmarked for the site but the company went into administration earlier this year.

During the development management committee meeting at the Town Hall last week, Cllr Linda Dirir (Penketh and Cuerdley - LAB) raised concerns about losing 'the black and white historic pub which gives a good first visual impression of Penketh'.

She added: "There will be a loss of a beautiful old public house – the oldest in Penketh.

"This is a valued asset to the community and part of Penketh's heritage.

"We understand that some 200 years ago Penketh Parish Council held meetings there when parish poor relief was distributed."

Campaigner John Myers from Penketh, who spearheaded the fight to protect the pub, said the Sportsmans Arms needs a chance so that it can continue to support the community.

He said: "We feel the Sportsmans Arms deserves a chance to have a future.

"We feel that another retail store would come at the expense of the Sportsmans Arms."

But a spokesman for New River Retail, the company which currently owns the pub, said the move would be a 'positive outcome for the community' as it would create 20 new jobs.

He added that one community facility would be replaced with another.

Landlord Joe Dodd, who said he had ploughed money into the Sportsmans Arms in a bid to keep it open, added that the pub was no longer financially viable.

He also revealed how he had been subjected to death threats since the plans were revealed. 

After hearing evidence for and against the planning application, Cllr Peter Carey (Fairfield and Howley - LAB) said he feared the applicant was trying to 'shoehorn' in a store while Cllr Sheila Woodyatt (Lymm South - CON) also raised her own concerns.

She said: "If a planning application needs 28 conditions then there has got to be something not quite right about it."

Seven councillors voted to refuse the proposal while Cllr Cathy Mitchell (Burtonwood and Winwick - LAB) voted in favour of the plans.