A LANDMARK Cradley Heath pub is set to reopen following a three year battle against proposals to build a Co-op store on its car park.

Campaigners fought long and hard to save the Haden Cross Inn from plans put forward by site owners New River Retail, and the pub has since undergone a major makeover.

Both the inside and out of the Halesowen Road pub has undergone refurbishment in preparation for its intended reopening on Friday, November 24.

Tim Haskey, chairman of the Friends of The Haden Cross, which formed in response to the supermarket plans, said: “At the time, the community came together in outrage at the plans by site owners New River Retail.

“We took steps to protect our local, working in partnership with Sandwell Council to make the pub and its surrounds an Asset of Community Value, thus preventing any development without full planning permission.”

Vice-chairman Jim Mumford added: “Those seemed dark days with a cloud hanging over the future of our neighbourhood local.

“Nationally there are still pubs closing at an alarming rate of around 30 per week. I fear this could increase isolation amongst communities with less social interaction.

“It’s great that the Haden Cross looks set to remain as a friendly local serving our neighbourhood and visitors.”

The group felt like they made a real breakthrough when New River’s asset managing arm ‘LT Management’ agreed a tenancy deal with local publicans Stan and Karl Gardner, who already run The Waterfall and The Bell and Bear.

The father and son duo have made some significant changes to the pub – getting rid of the pool table has increased space, while a new gin bar will cater for customer trends.

But don’t worry beer fans, local favourites Bathams and Holdens will still be available.

The reopening has been welcomed by Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris, who said: “The Haden Cross story is one of true community grit, steel and determination – and one in which the friends group can be truly proud.

“I am pleased to have played my part in this success story, bringing a much loved community pub back from the brink of closure.

“The friends group have been a real inspiration to those people who want to make a difference in their local community, and I look forward to seeing this pub thrive when it re-opens.”

Cllr Ann Shackleton added: “As a local councillor, I see evidence here of the community coming together to ensure developments reflect the right outcomes for the neighbourhood.

“This is a really good news story and I thank everyone involved in the action.”