Petition to save Dalkeith pub

A petition has been set-up to save Dalkeith pub The Blacksmith’s Forge, which looks likely to remain closed after lockdown, with the petitioners linking the expected closure to neighbouring Lidl’s plans for expansion.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 2:07 pm
Regulars and staff at the Blacksmith's Forge pub in Dalkeith.

Lidl GB has submitted a planning application for the extension and modernisation of the store on Newmills Road, building into the vacant unit next door to the pub, previously occupied by Peacocks.

The Advertiser understands that the pub’s owners Wetherspoon offered to buy the building from the land owners Lidl, but the supermarket giant refused to sell, leading to Wetherspoon deciding not to renew the lease for the popular pub.

However, Lidl GB insists that the site is simply not for sale, regardless of any planned extension.

In response, local couple Kenny Brunton (51) and Jenny Bottley (43) set-up a petition to save The Blacksmith’s Forge, which within four days had over 500 signatures.

“We’ve had really positive responses so far. People see it as a big community loss,” said Kenny.

"While staff and ex staff say they see it more than a job, more like a family. It’s just a big loss to the community. It’s the only local place that sells real ales.”

Kenny’s fiancee Jenny added: "Pubs will be even more important than normal after Covid. The Blacksmith’s Forge has a big area outside with seating so it’s somewhere people can go and feel safe as they gradually re-introduce themselves to the community.”

A Lidl spokesman said: “The site is not for sale, but we are willing to extend the lease with Wetherspoons and keep the pub in this location."

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We can confirm that The Blacksmith’s Forge will no longer operate as a Wetherspoon pub.”

He added: “There will no job redundancies as all staff will be relocated to other Wetherspoon pubs in the region.

“We thank our staff and customers for their loyalty to the pub over the years.”