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THE LEADER of Swansea Council said he would support people in West Cross if they wanted a “pop-up” pub after the council-owned watering hole closed.

Councillor Rob Stewart and an estates officer met residents who had signed petitions opposing the closure of The Linden Tree, off West Cross Lane.

A campaign group called West Cross Community Services Association has been set up after the pub called time last December. The pub is being turned into a shop.

Cllr Stewart said it would be up to the group to suggest a venue in the area which might be suitable as a pop-up pub, and contact a potential landlord or brewery who might want to give it a go.

“We would be happy to look at supporting that, in terms of allowing it to happen,” said the Labour leader.

Greg Wilkinson, speaking on behalf of the community association, said people in the large hillside estate surrounding The Linden Tree needed a social hub where they could meet, have a drink or a meal, catch up with friends and make new ones.

He said the petitions opposing the pub’s closure had nearly 1,000 signatures, and that residents felt the council – as freeholder – should have done more to retain the venue’s long-standing use for the community.

Mr Wilkinson was pleased though that the estates officer had, he said, agreed to provide written answers to several questions the association wanted to ask.

The council has previously said that it agreed to vary the lease for the building to protect the best interests of council taxpayers after two different pub operators had run it without success. Varying the lease, it added, would avoid the site remaining empty.

Cllr Stewart said the authority was satisfied that the tenant had tested the pub operator market before the decision was taken to vary the lease, and added that pubs in many areas of the UK were closing.

The community association’s next meeting is at 7pm on May 30 at The Beaufort Arms, Norton.

Mr Wilkinson said the group would consider potential pop-up pub locations, press for a change in Welsh planning law to make pub-to-shop conversions subject to formal planning permission, and continue to work with Mumbles Community Council and West Cross Community Centre.

He also said the association also expected to meet the tenant “in search of a workable compromise”.

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