Success! Pub saved from demolition and given five-year lease

MP Yvette Cooper, Maggie Senior, Paul Banfield  and Councillor Lorna Malkin at the Railway Inn, which has been saved from closure
MP Yvette Cooper, Maggie Senior, Paul Banfield and Councillor Lorna Malkin at the Railway Inn, which has been saved from closure

A landlady says a weight has been ‘lifted off her shoulders’ with her Pontefract pub saved from demolition.

Maggie Senior, who runs the Railway Inn on Mill Dam Lane, has been offered a further five-year lease after fearing the pub was to be bulldozed to make way for housing.

Developers Towngate PLC had successfully applied to build on the surrounding sites, but Mrs Senior was devastated when she was told by the company she would have to close down.

Locals rallied and a campaign by the Friends of the Railway was launched to save the business, backed by local councillors and MP Yvette Cooper.

Officials from Towngate even visited the pub recently to say the pub would close despite the backlash.

But last week the firm U-turned and offered Mrs Senior the chance to remain open.

Mrs Senior said: “People want this pub and we have fought for it so we are going to keep it.

“Everyone is chuffed to bits, it’s brilliant.

“At times I doubted we’d be able to stay open but others never did. Everyone has done so much, like Paul Banfield (Friends of the Railway Inn), Yvette Cooper and the local councillors, I can’t thank everybody enough.

“It’s been very stressful, it’s not only my home and my job but I have staff who would have been made redundant.

“I feel like a weight has been lifted.”

Mrs Senior, who has recently spent more than £12,000 on improvements to the pub, said the original decision to axe the pub came out of the blue because it was not mentioned in the plans submitted to Wakefield Council.

In September, an on-line petition was launched and collected in more than 1,100 names.

More recently the decision was taken to apply to Wakefield Council to register the pub as a ‘town asset’, meaning it would have greater protection from developers.

MP Yvette Cooper hopes the pub can still be registered.

She said: “We need to follow up and make sure that the Railway Inn is confirmed an asset of community value so we can keep protecting it in future.

“It is brilliant news that the developers have listened to all our lobbying and campaigning and agreed to save the pub.

“It’s a busy pub at the heart of the community thanks to all the work Maggie has put into it over the years.”