AN HISTORIC pub has been given a temporary reprieve from demolition - after the discovery of bats in its roof.
Protestors have hailed the set-back as a minor victory in their battle with property developers to save the Black Horse.
The pub was due to be razed last week but was halted by a mix-up with paperwork.
Now Steppingstone Group Developments - headed by Widnes Vikings chairman Steve O’Connor - must wait on a decision by planning officers.
And that could be complicated by a survey by a local bat expert found evidence of the creatures roosting in the building.
Retired teacher Rita Allcock, a committee member on the Moss Bank Action Group, the group set up to save the Black Horse, wants Steppingstone to rethink the entire scheme.
“There is a very good chance bats are there in the pub, which may change things completely. They are protected and as such their habitat must be treated carefully,” said Mrs Allcock.
The Black Horse has been at the centre of community life in Moss Bank for hundreds of years, with unverified historical references to it dating back to 1566.
Protected species, including bats, must be taken into account before any demolition gets the official go ahead
“It was a wonderful pub and it could be again,” added Mrs Allcock. “At one of our public meeting, a gentleman said he’d put in an offer to buy the pub and turn it into a gastro-pub but was knocked back.
“We’re keen to gather any more historical references to the pub which we think will bolster our case, we know it was definitely here in 1726 but it is very possible it was here even before then. No one from Steppingstone was available for comment.
g Jones Homes has submitted plans to build homes on the site of the former Eccleston Social Club. A company spokesman confirmed they plans to demolish the old club.