Power to the people as The Barge is saved in town centre cinema scheme

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 8 Sep 2017

REGULARS have raised a glass to news that The Barge will be staying.

The iconic Grimsby floating pub has been saved thanks to a wave of public support with nearly 8,500 names on a petition.

Owner Derrick Howard had been told last month he would have to move The Barge to make way for a planned £20 million cinema and leisure development.

But he announced following a meeting with developers and council chiefs The Barge can stay.

He added: “It is all down to the support we had. It is not going to be plain sailing and I have to keep silent.

“But I can say it is going to be the best BargeFest ever tomorrow.”

He earlier posted a message on Facebook saying: “It is all good. I can’t go into details but we are staying. There will be pain along the way but ultimately we are staying.”

He thanked supporters and said he was overwhelmed.

The annual Barge Fest being held tomorrow was promoted as being probably the last following the pressure from developers to replace The Barge with a fountain.

But it will be going ahead and there are plans for it to continue.

Ironically the first band on at 2pm is Reversing Destiny.

Derek said: “It is absolutely fantastic news. People have pulled together. The mistake, if there was one, was they had not recognised the overwhelming support there is and people would win out.

“The Barge has left a lasting impression with thousands of people. It holds a special place in people’s hearts. It was not just customers who felt it was not right. People felt strong enough, wrong should never win.”

Derrick added: “We have never opposed the cinema complex and the council are not the villains in this. They are doing their best and I could not have done it on my own, without them.”

Laura Kent, pictured with Derek above right, a Save the Barge campaign leader, etched “Done” on her campaign T-shirt.

She said: “I was elated when I heard it was saved. It has been my home since I was 18  and I have made lots of friends. The Barge is part of Grimsby’s history. We are one family.”

The decision to save The Barge was welcomed by supporters and regulars.

Sophia Ridlington, 22, said: “It is great news. I love this place. It is a staple for Grimsby.”
Friend Megan Green, 22, said: “I am very chuffed. It is a really good venue. The ownership is great and everyone who comes here is really nice.”

Alan Burley said: “I never really understood why it could not stay. It is good news. Some public petitions are not listened to. I am glad this one has.”

Councillor Peter Wheatley, North East Lincolnshire Council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We’ve held very productive talks with both the owner of the Barge and the cinema complex developers to explore a number of options.

“From these talks, I’m hopeful we can find a solution to ensure we not only look to the future with the development of the cinema and restaurant project, but also maintain our links to the past by securing a sustainable future for The Barge and its users.
“When we originally served notice, we said all along that we’d work with Mr Howard to look at alternatives for the future of the business and that’s exactly what we’ve done in getting to this point.

“I’m very pleased we’ve continued to make progress on this and now everyone involved is now going to go away to work up more details about how to take things forward.”

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