Locals step in to save popular Burnley village pub from closure just weeks before Christmas
A village's last remaining pub, that was threatened with closure just three weeks before Christmas, WILL remain open, it has been announced.
When it was reported in the Burnley Express that the historic and popular Hapton Inn faced closure, locals quickly joined forces, stepping forward to offer their services to keep the doors open.
Local businessman Kev Furber, who is the organiser of the Friends of Hapton Inn, said the pub had faced shutting its doors due to 'a mixture of unforeseen and unplanned issues with staff.'
Kev said: "On reading this in the Burnley Express locals quickly joined forces to help volunteer and keep the pub open.
"We were horrified when rumour came to light that the pub may need to close because of a combination of staff issues at the pub. Luckily, we have a local licensee who was able to help out and I’m delighted to say that the pub remains open, all be it without a food offering.
"The thought that we would lose the pub as a community venue at this time of year was so sad and it fills me full of joy that it has been the "Friends of the Pub" who have stepped in to save Christmas at the Hapton Inn.
"We are all very aware of high emotions surrounding the staffing issues along with all sorts of opinions that have been expressed on social media, but for me and the other members of our group, including Frank Owen, the owner of the pub, I believe we have all worked far too hard over recent years to simply let the pub close.
"It is true that several ex-staff members resigned and some had to be given notice, mainly resulting out of the fact that we had no chef, so it soon became obvious that without a working restaurant the staffing levels could not be maintained.
"However, this is a perfect time of year to get a new job in this industry and we believe that everyone has already found alternatives and we wish them all well as many of them have done outstanding work throughout the last two years of trading.
"We now hope that, with the community volunteers in place and continued support of the locals, we can enjoy an action packed, fun Christmas and New Year at the Hapton Inn."
Kev added that it was hoped a new management team would be appointed in the New Year.
In 2019 the pub was declared an 'asset of community value' by Burnley Council, much to the delight of locals who staged a campaign to retain it as a pub after it was sold at auction.
The sale prompted Kev and other Hapton residents to form The Friends of Hapton Inn, a group which was instrumental in lobbying Hapton Parish Council and Burnley Borough Council in granting an ACV on the building.
The last of five pubs to survive in the village the Hapton Inn has a rich history and was used as a meeting place in the immediate aftermath of the Hapton Valley pit disaster as well as a mortuary.
It has served locals through the two world wars and has hosted meetings of the parish council and the local hunt.