RESIDENTS in Birkdale have started a petition to transform their former local into a special community hub.

The Blundell Arms on Upper Aughton Road shut down in March of this year and since then has remained a blot on the area with boarded up windows, overgrown weeds and graffiti.

It is currently listed for sale by Star Pubs and Bars but in an audacious move, former Blundell locals have launched a petition to transform the building back into a pub and community hub – which would include a mini library, bingo room, post office and community garden.

Over 200 people have signed a petition calling for it to be given community ownership, a scheme run by the Pub Is the Hub non-for-profit scheme that helps provide support to licensees, rural pubs, community services and communities looking to rejuvenate an old public house.

Now a group of residents, led by former Blundell local Jason McCormack, will attempt to exact a law called the ‘Community Right To Bid’ which was created in 2012 as part of the Localism Act.

The Community Right to Bid means that communities can ‘stop-the- clock’ on the sale of valuable local assets like community pubs, giving them time to put in a bid of their own and protect it for the wider benefits of the community.

The new right gives voluntary and community organisations and parish councils the opportunity to nominate an asset to be included on a list of ‘Assets of Community Value’, pausing the sale of a successfully listed asset for six-months, giving communities the opportunity and time to prepare a bid and get a business plan together.

If their bid is successful, the locals can have the sale of the building halted why they get a funding package together.

Jason is now determined to get as many people as possible to sign the petition, telling the Champion: “I want it to be a community pub. The place is massive and could host a library, bingo, mother and baby club, a post office, a play rea, community garden, a food bank and it can be a pub at nights and weekends. Bring back the Dell!”

If the petition gains enough support, Jason will then apply to have the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value.

A Star Pubs & Bars spokesperson said: “We are aware of community interest in The Blundell Arms which has been closed for six months due to nobody wanting to take this large, expensive-to-run pub on and turn it into a profitable business.

“After three years of trying and failing to find a suitable operator with the relevant experience and investment available, we took the difficult decision to put the property on the market, something that is always a last resort option.”

To sign the petition visit this site.