A PUB has reopened just weeks after closing following brewery Thwaites’s decision to put it up for sale.

The Sportsman’s Arms, in Shear Brow, Blackburn, began trading again over the weekend in a move the brewery giant has described as “permanent”.

However, one pub leader said he was still concerned about the Sportsman’s long-term future.

Geoff Miller, East Lancashire representative of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association, said: “It is part of the Christmas pub crawl run, which will mean it should be busy during that time.

“However, it has had about five different landlords in the past five years so I don’t know how long it will last.

“It has never traded well because of the area it is in, where a lot of people are moving away. I would certainly not take it on.”

The Sportsman’s closed last month shortly before it was revealed that Thwaites had put eight East Lancashire pubs, including the Shear Brow tavern, up for sale with ‘restrictive covenants’.

The contract clauses, criticised by East Lancashire’s Campaign for Real Ale branch, mean that the pubs could not continue trading as non-Thwaites outlets. At the time, the brewery said it intended to “de-pub” parts of Blackburn in a move to make other pubs more succ-essful.

However, it has now again attempted to make a success of the Sportman’s.

Yesterday, the pub was closed when the Lancashire Telegraph called round.

But Andrew Buchanan, Thwaites’s pub operations director, said: “We are delighted to announce the reopening of the Sportsman pub with a new licensee, who has extensive experience as a local operator.

“We are, of course, thrilled that it will be reopening to once again serve the local community and we wish the business every success.”

He added that the pub would be open on a permanent basis and not just over the Christmas period.