Campaigners fighting to prevent the sale of Lanark’s historic Clydesdale Inn claim they have strong new evidence to back their case.
Ironically, the financial data they are using to bolster their argument against current owners JD Wetherspoon comes from the giant pub chain itself!
A spokesman for the campaign said: “In advertising the business, Wetherspoons have had to state what the turnover of the premises is and, from what we can see, it shows it is in a very healthy financial state indeed, with turnover approaching a million pounds a year and rising.
“It destroys any argument that Wetherspoons is justified in selling off the business because it is losing cash.”
The company figures show that the Clydesdale’s annual turnover went from £768,190 in 2010 to £943,992 in 2014.
The campaigners fear for the very future of the Clyesdale Inn should it be sold by the pub giant which acquired it and carried out a massive refurbishment of the business six years ago.
This was just the latest chapter in the very long history of the building, constructed as a hotel in 1791 and over the decades temporary home to famous guests ranging from Charles Dickens to General Montgomery of Alamein.
JD Wetherspoon breathed new life into the historic old building which had been lying vacant for some time, dispensing with the hotel side of the business and concentrating on food and drink. Early in 2015 there was some surprise expressed locally when JD Wetherspoon applied for planning permission to convert some of the vacant upstairs rooms back into hotel bedrooms; it was then learned that this was part and parcel of the chain’s plan to sell the building off to a new owner.
Said leading campaign member Councillor Ed Archer: “Nobody was able to make a go of the Clydesdale as a hotel for many years and I don’t think there is a commercial case for it now. I fear that it might fail under new ownership as a hotel and the town will eventully lose one of its most historic buildings, along with what I must say is a very well-run and popular pub and eating place.”
He doubted if a buyer would be found and feared JD Wetherspoon might close the premises. However, the company states it intends to go ahead with the sale but pledges to keep the premises open until a buyer is found.