Celebrated Blackburn pub The Sir Charles Napier has been added to the council’s list of Assets of Community Value, affording it extra protection under planning law and paving the way for community ownership.
The “Napier”, as it is known, was nominated by a local community interest company set up to protect the pub after its closure in June this year – known as “Save The Napier”, this cause has enjoyed support from more than 1,400 people, including Rob Halford of British Heavy Metal pioneers Judas Priest, and comedian Josie Long. The company will celebrate the successful bid at a fundraising event at Blakey’s on 6th November.
The council said this in their response: “The level of support generated by the ACV nomination from Members of the Council, CAMRA, and through the marketing and promotion satisfies the Council as to whether the public house will further the social well-being of the community in the near future. This level of support and aspirations of the CIC can only be encouraged.”
However, the future of the Napier, owned by Blackburn’s Thwaites Brewery, is still uncertain. Kerry McGregor, CIC Secretary, said: “We’re really happy that the council agrees that the Napier is worth saving. This listing is an early step in a long process – we look forward to working with Thwaites and the council to get the keys to the Napier in the hands of the community.”
The CIC’s plans for the future of the Napier include serving food, opening a dedicated venue, offering video and audio recording facilities and working with local schools and colleges to host training courses.
Thanks to funding from Bootstrap Enterprises, the Save the Napier group have been working with Dave Hollings of Co-Operative & Mutual Solutions, a company that helps communities take ownership of their pubs. He said: “This is great news for the people campaigning for the Napier. Let’s hope they can join the 37 community owned pubs successfully trading across the UK, including of course the Dog Inn at Belthorn which will be opening under community control in the next month.”.
Download a full press release with additional quotes and contact information HERE.
Photos for press use (click for full size):
Sky Valley Mistress outside the Napier. The band will play at Blakey’s on 6th November as part of a Save the Napier fundraising event.
Members of Save The Napier outside the pub.