The Lanark customers fighting to keep the town’s Clydesdale Inn as a Wetherspoon’s pub have been told where to go by the company - Wishaw!
What was obviously meant to be a concilliatory message to those campaigning to stop Wetherspoons selling off the pub for conversion to a hotel appears to have backfired with it having the effect of the regulars pledging to redouble their efforts to block the sale.
As previously reported, the recent news that Wetherspoons were to sell off the Clydesdale Inn came as a shock to its Lanark customers, some of whom have mounted a campaign to persuade the pub chain giant to reverse its decision.
The main worry of the regulars is that the premises - first opened in the 18th century as the Burgh’s official inn for visitors - might not survive as a stand-alone hotel business in the current financial climate without the financial strength of a giant company like Wetherspoons behind it.
Their puzzlement was added to by the fact that the Clydesdale Inn, under Wetherspoons management for the past decade, is understood to be the busiest pub in Lanark. often packed with drinkers and diners on weekdays.
The company has never fully explained its reasoning behind the sale but has now sent an official response to the campaigners’ appeal to drop the plan.
The letter from company representative Claire Campbell appears to at least quell fears that Wetherspoons would close the Clydesdale Inn if a buyer doesn’t come forward.
She says: “The pub will remain open and trading as usual until a new buyer is found.”
She went on: “We understand that customers of the Clydesdale Inn will be disappointed that their own Wetherspoons pub is up for sale and we hope that our other pubs in the area will prove a suitable alternative.”
She concludes: “We appreciate our customers’ loyalty over the years.”
The reaction of a spokesman for the campaingers was heated. He said: “WHAT suitable alternative? The nearest Wetherspoons branch to Lanark is in Wishaw so do they expect us to travel all the way there if we want a quick pint?
“It sounds like it would be a very expensive and time-consuming way to have a drink. The strength of the Clyesdale Inn is that it is convenient for Lanarkians and charges competitive prices. These advantages would just disappear if it changed hands.
“It just shows you what little knowledge these big companies based down south have of our local geography that they can even suggest that going all the way to Wishaw and back is some sort of ‘alternative’ to having a local branch of Wetherspoons right here in Lanark.”
The campaigners are claiming they have now had over 200 expressions of support for their online petition against the sale.
They are using the building’s rich past to bolster the case for ensuring its survival by remaining in Wetherspoon ownership.
The campaigners point to the building originally being created due to support from the likes of New Lanark founder David Dale and having housed famous guests such as Dickens and Wordsworth.