A BLACKBURN pub has been given extra protection after being named as an Asset of Community Value.

Fears had been raised about the Navigation Inn, in Canal Street, after Thwaites closed several pubs in the area such as the Gibraltar in Dukes Brow and the Punch Bowl in Roman Road.

There are no plans to close the pub, however locals at the Mill Hill pub next to the canal decided they did not want to take any chances over its future.

Instead they applied to protect it from any change of use by applying for it to be an ACV, making it subject to additional protection under the Localism Act 2011.

The protection means that the owner of an ACV must inform the local authority if they wish to sell the asset and if a group wishes to buy it, they can trigger a delay for six months to give them a chance to raise money to buy the asset.

Navigation Inn regular Tony Makin has been visiting the pub since 1969 when he first moved into Mill Hill.

He said it was a very important place to the area.

He said: “There is not one person I have spoken to who doesn’t think it’s excellent, so you know it’s a vital part of the community and is irreplaceable.

“The pub runs football and darts teams, including a disabled football team, and people do not go there to get drunk, they go there to socialise and that is something very special in today’s changing drinking culture.

“It’s been there for a long time and it is a vital asset to the community. I am so pleased it has been recognised.”

The pub is run by landlady Karen Frankland, who said she was delighted it had gained the status after making it more family-friendly.

She said: “The Navigation has been through some rough times over the years but we have turned it round to make it into a family pub with Christmas parties and everyone is getting an egg this weekend for Easter.

“It’s very important to the community and we do a lot of charity work.”

Before being name as an ACV, the pub, which is a five minute walk from the railway station, was awarded Blackburn with Darwen’s most improved pub in 2014 by the East Lancashire branch of Camra.

Mill Hill councillor Jim Smith has been active in trying to get the status for the pub and said that he was very pleased it had achieved it.

He said: “It is a very important pub to a lot of people in Mill Hill and has been for a long time.

“I am always supportive of pubs staying open and I would encourage people to go out to them more because it is an important part of our culture.”