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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Save my pub plea from Carlisle landlady

The supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has been urged to help ensure the survival of a traditional Carlisle pub.

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Marion Jones, landlady of the Joiners Arms

Records show that The Joiners Arms has been a pub for at least 278 years and is the last one standing in the city’s Caldewgate area.

But landlady Marion Jones, 62, who has run the pub for 17 years, is locked in a battle for survival as other local pubs fall by the wayside at an alarming rate.

In recent weeks, the nearby Jovial Sailor and the Pedestrian Arms, on Newtown Road, have closed while other pubs in the Caldewgate area, such as the Globe, The Duke of York and the Maltsters, have long since passed into history.

Marion fears the Joiners Arms, which has clung on throughout the work on the new Sainsbury’s store next door, could follow suit.

“This is the last proper traditional pub in the Caldewgate area,” she said, “and I really do hope that it can survive.”

Marion had already bounced back from the 2005 floods, replacing virtually everything in the pub after it was destroyed by the floodwater. Her next biggest challenge has come from the combined effects of the recession and the building of the new Sainsbury’s.

She said: “I lost everything in the flood. Now the pub’s suffering, and it could be a combination of the recession and the effect of Sainsbury’s.

“We’ve now got the best corner shop in the world – I love it – but for 10 and a half months while they were building it I was losing £1,000 a week.”

Marion says punters who previously could drive to the pub now have nowhere locally to park. The pub formerly had parking bays, and spaces in nearby Byron Street – part of an area known traditionally as Poet’s Corner.

She feels Sainsbury’s should compensate her business for the months of disruption caused by the construction work.

She added: “For two weeks, they were road surfacing during the day and night and we were getting just an hour and a half of sleep.

“I’m fighting for this pub’s survival. I know that Sainsbury’s have paid out for other things, so I feel that a gesture wouldn’t go amiss.”

The Joiners is known locally as the birthplace of the “legend of Blue Lugs”, a reference to a former regular reputed to have huge transparent ears, so thickly veined as to appear blue.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said that the store aimed to be a good neighbour and tried to minimise disruption. He added: “We worked with Marion to promote the Joiner’s Arms throughout the construction of the store.

“We produced large banners to ensure that customers and passers by knew the pub was open for business. We also distributed vouchers for money off a meal at the Joiners Arms.

“We are sorry to hear that Marion is unhappy with the store and we will contact her to discuss her concerns.”

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