April 21, 2022 10.56 am This story is over 25 months old

Campaigners win reprieve to Keep The Tap Running at popular pub

Its future is still unclear

The West End Tap may not have poured its last pint after campaigners convinced the council to give it another chance.

The beloved Lincoln pub was set to be turned into maisonettes, with a two-storey extension to the rear.

At least 80 people from the Keep The Tap Running campaign packed into the City of Lincoln Council planning meeting to hear its fate.

The community group gave passionate speeches about why it was an irreplaceable part of the area, and were delighted when the recommendation to approve the plans was overturned.

Cheers broke out as councillors unanimously voted to give it another chance to prove it was a viable business.

However, the campaign was warned that there was still no guarantee of the West End Tap reopening.

Campaigners happy to see the West End Tap kept as a pub (From left – Aaron Joyce, Lincoln CAMRA chair, Marianne Langley, secretary of Keep the Tap Running, Terry Mackown, majority investor)

Marianne Langley, the secretary of the Keep the Tap Running campaign, said: “We are over the moon with this decision. We have had a battle on our hands to save the pub, and it has been a confusing and contentious time.

“Our next job is preparing for an appeal, and getting the Tap open and running again. We are very grateful to the committee for giving us this chance.”

The pub was registered as an Asset of Community Value last year, meaning that the community would get the first chance to buy it if it went up for sale.

The meeting heard there  was a dispute between the investors in the pub over whether it should be sold. Majority investor Terry Mackown claimed that it still has a future if it’s well-run, but Lewis and Nigel de-la-Hey said that it was too challenging to operate the pub in current conditions.

Mr Mackown was keen to see it serving drinks once again in community hands. He says he has offered to buy the other investors out, although they dispute this.

Lewis de-la-Hey responded that they had tried to keep the Tap afloat since reopening in 2013, but the decline of traditional pubs and the Covid lockdowns meant it was no longer possible.

Dozens of supporters attended the meeting to hear the pub’s fate

“It has been a seven year struggle to keep it open. It’s common sense to accept that the pub is no longer viable,” he told the meeting.

“There was no community group to keep the Tap running until there was a planning application.”

He added that the pub was known to police for drug use and Covid rule breaches, although supporters said this description was “absurd”.

Ward councillor Neil Murray said all Carholme representatives were against the application, warning the city risked losing a “historic and popular pub”.

Councillor Calum Watt said: “We will be taking a risk in turning the application down, as other pubs which have been protected in the past have still gone on to close.

“If the community group are given the chance, they need to use it and show that the pub can be reopened or they will lose it.”

However, Councillor Bob Bushell cautioned: “There is no guarantee that the Tap will ever open as a pub again. The owners can’t be forced to sell or to do so at a particular price.”

Pub group CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) also objected to the plans, and the landlords of other nearby pubs turned out to back the Tap.

The pub was bought by the current owners in July 2013, who invested over £250,000 until the business proved unviable.

The West End Tap was then leased to a tenant, but it didn’t reopen after the 2021 lockdown.

Although the building will remain as a pub for the time being, its future remains unclear.