Petition launched in a bid to save Hitchin pub

Molly Malones pub in Hitchin is up for sale

Molly Malones pub in Hitchin is up for sale - Credit: Archant

A petition has been launched after a community pub has been put on the market to be sold.

More than 100 signatures have been collected and a Facebook page set up calling for Molly Malones in Hitchin to remain as a pub.

The petition was started last Tuesday by customer Lee Milner, who has been drinking in the pub for the past 16 years and is the pub’s football team secretary.

Pub chain Greene King, which owns Molly Malones, has confirmed that the pub is up for sale.

The pub in Nightingale Road runs three football teams, a darts team, pool team and poker league, as well as hosting bands at the weekends.

Mr Milner said that closure could destroy many clubs and groups that use the establishment and that the pub “becomes the centre of the town” on St Patrick’s Day.

The 38-year-old from Hitchin said: “We are trying to get as many people together to support us. It is a great pub and we are looking at various options to save it from developers buying it. If it means registering it as a community asset we’ll do that.”

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The Scallywags is one of many bands from the area which play regularly at the venue.

Kev Maher, the lead singer and guitarist of the Hitchin-based band, said: “We have had some of our best nights in the pub and it is a real shame that it is being sold. It’s one of the only pubs in Hitchin that regularly has bands playing and it is a great community pub. It would be a real shame if it was left derelict or sold off to developers.”

The 40-year-old added that the band had a gig booked at the pub in December, but he does not know if this is still going to go ahead.

In May the Comet reported that the pub, which has been there for the past 40 years, had closed after the license holder left.

Landlady Julie Ambrose took it on two months later, but she has declined to comment on the pub’s future.

Wendy Bowker, who lives nearby and is a former member of the now defunct Triangle Residents’ Association, said: “It is fairly obvious it is not viable as a pub so a sale seems perfectly logical, though it would be sad if the premises was demolished as it is a fine Victorian building. The Triangle Design Statement was diligently prepared by residents in order to avoid loss of buildings which make up the unique ambience of this area.”

A spokesman for Greene King said: “To enable us to continue to invest in these pubs, we regularly review our estate and sometimes have to take the difficult decision to sell pubs. After a review of this business, we have put Molly Malones on the market as a pub.”

When asked by the Comet if the pub would be sold to a housing developer, the spokesman declined to comment.