Another pub set to close in St Ives

ANOTHER St Ives pub looks set to be closed ... to make way for a shop.

The owners of the Manchester Arms, Punch Taverns, want to demolish the pub and replace it with a retail unit and parking on the Needingworth Road site.

They say the pub, which they have owned since 2004, is not making money and its chances of turning a profit were all but killed off by the opening nearby of the Marsh Harrier pub.

The plans have been submitted to Huntingdonshire District Council, although there is no indication about what type of business the retail unit would be used for.

However, some St Ives business owners are concerned the development could prove to be blow for town centre retailers.

Jane Waters, joint owner of Time for Health, in Station Road, said: “The cost of parking in the town is making the shops vulnerable, and providing retail on the edge of the town will mean that shops in the town centre will be under even more threat.

“All businesses are going to be affected if a retail unit is approved as it will make the town centre less attractive.

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“The development should not be allowed to go ahead because under the new Nation Planning Policy Framework, unveiled by the Government last month, no out-of-town developments should be approved that could be replicated in the town centre, and it can in St Ives.”

According to Punch, the Manchester Arms is being kept “artificially open”, with the landlord being charged a nominal rent and discounts on beer, but the company is making a loss.

Jon Heald, estate development manager, said: “The site was extensively marketed but due to its trading history and the close proximity of the Marsh Harrier, the market was not convinced there is enough business to support two pubs.”

Huntingdonshire CAMRA said it would oppose the plans.

Paul Moorhouse, publicity officer, said: “It’s sad for St Ives to lose another pub and one we thought was doing fairly well.

“We would like to question why companies should have the right to close down pubs that are, like the Manchester Arms, a community asset.”

The Robin Hood pub, in Market Hill, St Ives, closed temporarily last month while the owners evaluated how to revitalise the business.