Kirkstall Brewery has been chosen as the new owner of historic Cardigan Arms pub on Kirkstall Road.
Current Cardigan Arms owners Greene King chose the brewery, which also runs the successful Kirkstall Bridge Inn, over a bid to take the pub into community ownership by the Cardigan Arms Community Coop, which had received pledges worth more than £100,000 to back their bid.
It’s understood there was another – unnamed – bidder.
A Greene King spokesperson confirmed a sale had been agreed and said:
“Having put the Cardigan Arms on the market earlier this year we’ve now agreed a sale to Kirkstall Brewery, 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.”
The news has been met with disappointment from the Cardigan Arms Community Co-op, who had been campaigning to make the Cardigan Arms Leeds’s first community-owned pub. Campaigners said in a press statement this afternoon:
“Despite assurances that the decision would be made on the basis of the quality of the bid, rather than price, we understand the winning bid was considerably higher than the asking price.”
Speaking on behalf of the Community Co-op, 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.”
Mr Bretell expressed ‘warmest thanks’ to investors and supporters for their enthusiasm, hard work and campaigning effort over the last few months.
“We can safely say that we all did our very best,” added Mr Bretell.
Investor pledges will not be drawn down and cheques will be returned.
Greene King did not comment on the campaign’s claims over the asking price.
Steve Holt, managing director of Kirkstall Brewery, said:
“Our purchase of the Cardigan Arms will preserve this much-loved Grade II listed building for the local community. 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.”
The Cardigan Arms is one of the country’s top 250 heritage pubs according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), with the original five rooms around a central bar and many of the original fittings.