St Ives pub developer put off by Wetherspoon interest

JD Wetherspoon

JD Wetherspoon - Credit: Archant

PLANS to give a St Ives town centre pub a £300,000 makeover have been put on hold after JD Wetherspoon announced its intentions to move into the town, its owners have said.

Alison Purchas and her husband, Michael, who also own the Golden Lion in St Ives, bought the nearby Robin Hood in late 2011 and closed it in March last year after trading at a loss for four months.

The plan had been to revamp the pub. Mrs Purchas said they were in talks with conservation officers and had spoken to two firms about plans for the listed building, but when they heard rumours that Wetherspoon was looking to open in town, they put the plans on hold until they could investigate further.

As reported in The Hunts Post, it is believed that the national pub chain is looking at the former Warehouse Clearance shop in Market Hill.

“We were looking at putting £300,000 into renovating the listed building to make it viable in the long-term, which is what we want in St Ives,” said Mrs Purchas. “If Wetherspoon takes over the shop and builds a super pub up to modern-day standards, it would mean the end of the Robin Hood and I don’t see how any pubs in the town could compete.

“We can’t stop Wetherspoon – no one can as they are huge – but we would like assurances from planners that Wetherspoon would have to buy an existing licensed premise.”

Mrs Purchas added: “With breweries, the first thing they pull when a pub is in trouble is the maintenance, that’s what happened in the Robin Hood which was neglected.

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“This is not just about us, it’s about the town as well. Everyone needs to decide what they want for St Ives – do they want to see all the listed buildings boarded up?”

JD Wetherspoon is also said to be looking at a place in Princes Street, Huntingdon. A spokesman said they remain interested in the central areas of both towns.