A PUB chain is being urged to drop its rent demands in order to bring a once-thriving venue back into business.

Campaigner Steve Sutton has renewed calls to save The Railway pub, in Bromley Cross, and launched an online petition in support of its reopening.

The Railway was once a popular village watering hole with a reputation for hosting top live music.

But since it closed in 2016, the pub has become a blackspot for vandalism and now stands boarded up and derelict.

Mr Sutton, who lives Bromley Cross, is urging the venue’s owner, Star Pubs and Bars, to reconsider the rent it is asking for — at least while it is refurbished and it gets back on its feet.

He said: “While this property is in need of refurbishment, they are currently requesting the ingoing minimum of £13,500 with a rent of £37,250 every year.

“We therefore request, in order to incentivise and accelerate the successful uptake of this property, that Star Pubs reduce the initial rent by a sum of £10,000 for the first two to three years — an effective discount of just under 20 per cent.”

He continued: “From a purely business perspective, it would seem only logical to reopen this property and receive rental income. “

And in a written plea accompanying the online petition he said: “The Railway pub is a significant asset for our community, yet this great local pub has sadly been shuttered for years.

“As local residents we know only too well the value of these premises, yet we also experience first-hand its current negative effect on our area.”

Mr Sutton also claims that the rent being asked for the derelict Railway is higher than Star Pubs’ other venues in the area‘ Grappa Italia — formerly The Crofter Arms, in Bolton Road — and Roka, on the junction of Bradshaw Brow and Turton Road.

And he claims it is ‘unrealistic’ for the chain to hold out for a higher rental in an area ‘blighted by economic decline.

He said : “This pub has also seen two failures in recent years. Further, nearby sites have also seen pub closures. The Volunteer, at the other end of Bromley Cross Road, failed as a pub and then as the Green Bengal Restaurant. It is now a Sainsbury’s. The Dunscar Arms on Darwen Road is now housing. : “It seems daft to ask a higher rent for this derelict building than they ask for successful ones just down the road.”

He continued: “From a personal perspective, this was our local pub for many years. We miss this community pub and wish to see it reopen as soon as possible.”

And touching on the vandalism that has forced the boarding up of the pub, he added: “From a purely economic perspective, we have seen the negative impact this boarded up asset has brought to our area.

“The swift reopening of these premises will clearly benefit both Star Pubs and our community. We hope Star Pubs consider the proposal mutually beneficial.”

A spokesman for Star Pubs and Bars said the chain still had plans to relaunch the venue once a new publican can be found.

He said “We are looking for the right person with the relevant experience and vision to take on the Railway, Bromley Cross.

“We have plans to refurbish the pub and have set the rent to fulfil these plans and create a great local amenity for the whole community.

To sign the petition sign thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/343/076/808/