Regulars at the Centurion pub looked on in surprise last week when Chester’s Labour MP, Chris Matheson, joined local Tory councillors, Pamela Hall and Keith Board for a quick pint. The unlikely trio weren’t there to talk shop – they were there to talk “STOP!”
The Centurion has stood in Vicars Cross for decades, it is a family pub and forms part of the central hub that the Vicars Cross community is built around. Now a private developer wants to buy the land the pub is built on and turn it in to a care home.
Chris Matheson said: “The people in Vicars Cross don’t want this and they are working with their local councillors to try and stop it. There is a great grass roots campaign running to save the pub and I fully support them – this isn’t about creating something new that the community needs, it’s about developers trying to make a quick buck.”
Also supporting the campaign are the local councillors for Great Boughton. Pamela said: “Both Keith and I fully support this campaign and have worked from the outset to oppose this alongside the Centurion Community Action Group. There is still plenty of time for local residents to object to this dreadful scheme by accessing the Planning section on the Cheshire West & Chester website. The developers say that the pub is failing, but there has been overwhelming support for the campaign from the community. The Centurion should be at the heart of Vicars Cross for generations to come.”
Despite objections by local people, under current planning legislation the Council’s planning committee can’t reject an application solely because it is unpopular. If they were to do so, the property developer can appeal against the decision and if they win then they can charge all of the costs to the council.
Chris concluded: “In the end the decision will be taken by the local planning committee, and their hands will be tied by national planning law. However, I still think that it’s important for elected people to put party politics aside and support the communities they represent when it comes to issues that are important to local people.”