CAMRA backs bid to save city pub
THE Campaign for Real Ale has backed a last-ditch bid to prevent a city pub being turned into offices and flats.
The Plymouth branch of CAMRA said it wants Mutley's famous "pub on the roundabout", the Hyde Park Hotel, to remain as a boozer.
Yesterday The Herald revealed how city businessman Robin Reip expects to buy the landmark building tomorrow and wants to turn the upstairs into two luxury flats and the pub into offices.
Steve Bowen, who has been landlord of the pub for just over a year, has launched a campaign to keep it as a tavern and has begun a petition.
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Now CAMRA has backed the campaign and chairman Ian Dickinson said: "We urge everybody who visits pubs to visit the Hyde Park and sign their petition to show support for Steve, and urge the new owners to keep the pub as a going concern."
He said Mr Bowen had turned the business into "a thriving centre of community".
"It has a number of pool and dart teams, and regular live entertainment," Mr Dickinson said.
"The pub did not sell real ale until Steve reintroduced one, and now sells four real ales."
He said that if the building becomes offices and flats "the communities of Peverell and Mutley will lose a thriving community pub, and the Hyde Park will join the list of 18 pubs closing each and every day in the United Kingdom".
Mr Dickinson urged supporters to a Facebook page dedicated to calling for the pub to remain open, saying it received more than 400 hits in just a day.
He also said there was empty business space near to the pub and said businesses might prefer to consider using that rather than "to take away a thriving business and deprive the community of a popular public house".
The Hyde Park is being sold by the Spirit Pub Company to Mr Reip, who expects to complete the purchase tomorrow.
Mr Reip told The Herald he had found a prospective tenant for the pub but that person wanted to turn it into business space.
Mr Bowen has had the pub tenancy since December 2011 and even put in an offer for the freehold, only to find that contracts had already been exchanged between Spirit and Mr Reip.
Mr Bowen told The Herald he understands Mr Reip's business case, but wants the building to remain a pub and believes he can make it viable.