AN influential beer-appreciation society has waded in to a row over a controversial refurbishment at a Farnworth pub.
The Bolton News revealed last month that council bosses had ticked off owners of the Shakespeare Hotel in Glynne Street for painting wooden panels blue without their permission.
If Bolton planning committee finds the paint is not in keeping with the grade II listed building, the owners may have to spend £10,000 removing it.
Now, officials from The Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) have called on the committee to act.
The CAMRA website, which was updated before the latest works, says: “The layout amazingly remains intact and the spaces are fitted out with woodwork of the highest quality, making it one of the finest remaining examples of an inter-war suburban pub.”
In a letter to the council, CAMRA’s Bolton branch secretary Graham Walsh wrote: “Of the 54,000 or so pubs in the UK, we estimate fewer than two per cent have escaped drastic internal alteration in recent years.
“The inclusion of the Shakespeare in our national inventory of historic pubs shows the importance of the interior fittings.
“The painting of this panelling has clearly had a major detrimental effect on the interior.
“This application should be refused.”
Last month, the pub’s licensee, Peter Coates, said Bravo Inns, which owned the pub, spent thousands of pounds on a refurbishment last May, replacing carpets, the lighting system and seat covers — and only one customer complained.
He added that it would cost £10,000 to treat the wood with a special chemical to remove the paint. Eric Whitehead, of Kearsley, said: “I have been a regular at the Shakespeare for more than 50 years.
“The room with the panels had deteriorated over the years. Bravo Inns has done a great job in knocking no walls down and painting the panels, making them look a lot better.
“They also have a fantastic licensee in Peter and his wife, who both do a great job with good bar staff. The place is spotless.”
The committee aims to make a decision at its meeting at Bolton Town Hall on March 28.
Bravo Inns did not respond to a request for a comment.