THE owner of an award-winning real ale brewery is making a last bid to buy an historic pub threatened with closure.

Sara D’Arcy, who runs the Irwell Works Brewery in Ramsbottom, wants to buy the 150-year-old Alma Inn in West Street, Padiham, which could be shut and turned into houses.

The former Padiham resident said she would match the offer developers have put to owner Punch Taverns.

The pub is still at the centre of a planning appeal after plans to convert it into two houses were refused by Burnley Council.

Ms D’Arcy, who helped organise Padiham Beer Festival, said: “If we manage to take it over, it will have the feel of a traditional pub. Many people don’t want the big pubs. They want a traditional pub.

“There wouldn’t be any alcopops, shots or loud thumping music, just fine beer and good quality wines and spirits. We sell pork scratchings from Rossendale, and we make our own pies. Everything locally sourced.

“I studied economics at university, and I know when communities use as much local stuff as they can, it creates an economy, making and keeping, jobs. That’s what we do in Rammy, many businesses working together, and I want to bring some of that to Padiham.”

A planning inspector is expected to decide next month whether to uphold the decision to reject the housing plan, from Atkinson Morley Construction.

Padiham councillor Chris Smith said there was massive local support for keeping the Alma as a pub.

He said: “It’s essential for the community. There is no need for more housing there. The loss to the community would be immense.

“Burnley Council knew that and that’s why it turned down the housing plans. It would be fantastic if Sara took it over.”