Padiham campaigners fear historic pub loss would hit conservation area.

The Alma pub in Padiham which is at the centre of a planning appeal to turn it into houses.
The Alma pub in Padiham which is at the centre of a planning appeal to turn it into houses.

Campaigners fear losing a historic Padiham pub to developers could rip the heart out of the town’s treasured conservation area

Opponents fighting to save the 150-year-old Alma Inn believe plans to turn the pub into houses would be a huge blow to Padiham’s heritage.

The popular West Street hostlery is the borough’s last surviving traditional “house pub” and campaigners say selling it off for housing could prove a death knell for the “Top of the Town Triangle”.

The planning application was originally turned down because Burnley Council’s Development Control Committee felt it would be “detrimental to the social and economic fabric of the conservation area”.

Pleas were made to a Government planning inspector to uphold the decision to deny planning permission for two three-bedroom homes.

Coun. Andy Tatchell told the hearing: “The Whalley Range pub closed three years ago. Now if the Alma goes then the Hare and Hounds would go too. The ‘Top of the Town Triangle’ would die.

“The Alma is more than just a pub – it is an experience of Padiham’s conservation area. It is the only traditional ‘house pub’ left in the whole borough.”

Alma supporters told the hearing the pub was a community-driven “local” which was popular with pensioners and regulars used it as a base for charity work.

Campaigners said it was a vital community hub and claimed it was turning a profit in times of austerity.

But Alan Kinder, speaking for the developer, said Punch Taverns had put it on the market in 2009 but it had failed to sell even way below the £115,000 asking price.

He believed the Alma was loss-making and not “viable” as a pub and claimed it only remained open because of subsidies from the owning firm. He said there was a need for new housing in Padiham

A decision is expected in five weeks.