There was shock, anger and disbelief when the Salford Star revealed on Monday that The Crescent pub had 'closed until further notice' (see previous article – click here).
Staff at The Crescent had been serving drinks on Sunday night and the closure of one of the city's most well known and historic pubs took everyone by surprise. For Nick Baguley, who worked behind the bar part time for five and a half years, the writing was on the wall...
"The pub was sold a while back to a Chinese consortium, who have been incredibly secretive about their plans for the place" he explains "At one point they said they would help by fixing the roof, toilets etc. Sadly they recently changed their minds and have been demanding daft amounts of rent each week: money we simply didn't have...
"There was that, and the fact that a lot of people just don't bother with the place anymore" he adds "Fair enough, we have loyal regulars and we receive rave reviews on Trip Advisor and social media sites commenting on how good the food is and how friendly the staff are; saying how they plan on coming back very soon...yet you'll pop in after work and there'll be two people sat in the corner."
Many people thought that the 'closed until further notice' signs held out a glimmer that The Crescent might re-open. But Nick reckons there's very little chance of that... "Unless a miracle occurs then it's permanent" he says.
There is some hope that the building can be saved as it is Grade II listed, and also, in September 2016, The Crescent was denoted as an Asset of Community Value by Salford City Council, following an application by the Crescent Pub Conservation Club.
This recognised that The Crescent 'furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community' and, under Section 88 of the Localism Act, if the owner wants to 'dispose' of the property the community has the right to bid for it.
The Act is a bit toothless as the Council decision adds that "The provisions do not restrict in any way who the owner of a listed asset can sell their property to or at what price. Nor do they confer a first right of refusal to community interest groups..."
Plus the Chinese investors, Kaixiang Liu and Caiwen Ban, who bought The Crescent in June 2016 for a stated price of £325,000, might not wish to 'dispose' of it; but rather, as is feared, knock it down to build more unaffordable flats along the Crescent.
At the moment there has been no word from the owners about their intentions for the historic pub...