Bid to run historic city pub as co-op ends as site is sold to brewery

Locals in Leeds had launched a £300,000 fundraiser to buy the Cardigan Arms but it has been sold to Kirkstall Brewery

A bid to buy a historic pub in Leeds city centre has failed after a sale was agreed to a rival brewer.

Locals had launched a £300,000 funding bid to buy the Cardigan Arms and run it as a community pub but owner Greene King has accepted a sale to Kirkstall Brewery owner Steve Holt.

The Cardigan Arms Community Pub co-op said it had received assurances that the decision would be made on the basis of the quality of the bid, rather than price, but added: “we understand the winning bid was considerably higher than the asking price”.

Founding director Jim Brettell said: “The co-op remains convinced that, having worked closely with the local community and our business partners Mood in developing an exciting and sustainable vision for this well-loved pub, our bid was the best and would have ensured the long-term future of a nationally important heritage asset.

“Individuals come and go, companies get bought and sold and it’s regrettable that Greene King did not feel able to recognise both the quality of our bid and that it is only through active community involvement and ownership that a greater degree of protection can be provided for a pub like this.”

The group had been keen to protect the pub as a community asset, and as a piece of national heritage. Its interior is largely unchanged since it first opened in 1896, which has seen it placed on a list of 250 heritage pubs, and on a list of historic pub interiors drawn up by the Campaign for Real Ale.

Mr Brettell added: “The co-op would like to express warmest thanks to all the many investors and supporters for their enthusiasm, hard work and campaigning effort over the last few months and can safely say that we all did our very best.

“All investor pledges will not be drawn down and cheques will be returned.”

A spokesman for Greene King told the local media that buyer Kirkstall Brewery is “a well-respected local business with a track record of sympathetically restoring and operating a nearby pub.

“The company is a good fit, being a craft brewer already based in the area. This decision ensures the future of the pub is safeguarded and we wish Kirkstall Brewery all the best for the future running of the pub.”

Steve Holt, managing director of Kirkstall Brewery, said: he wanted to preserve the Grade II listed pub for the community.

He added: “I look forward to bringing the same sense of pride in restoring and operating the Cardigan as we have to our current pub, the Kirkstall Bridge.”

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