Enterprise Inns pub Star Inn Acton, pic creative commons by Espresso Addict

The former manager of a 500-year-old Nantwich pub set to be turned into housing, has blasted brewery agents for wrongly labelling it a failing pub.

Paul Beaton was the last manager of The Star Inn, in Acton, before Enterprise Inns decided to sell it.

Mr Beaton was caretaker boss and says he and his partner had “fallen in love” with The Star and wanted to sign a five-year tenancy.

He says they had worked hard for eight months and turned the Chester Road pub’s fortunes around, making up to £4,000 a week before it closed in April this year.

And they say documents from brewery agents Fleurets, who sold the property on behalf of Enterprise, are “misleading”.

“We were all set to sign when we were advised by Enterprise Inns they had decided to sell the property due to the amount of investment required to renovate the pub and extend the kitchen to make the pub even more profitable,” he said.

“During our time it the was used by locals from Acton and surrounding villages, residents of the nearby canal marinas, walkers, and also frequently used by groups such as The Young Farmers, Acton Church, Acton School, Cheshire Car Club.

“The Star was very much the heart of the community and I believe with a little investment could also be a thriving business that we would happily have taken on given the opportunity.”

planning notice, Star Inn in ActonHe hit out at statements made by Fleurets Property Specialists, which he claims are “an attempt to give the impression the pub was not a viable venture”.

“This letter appears to list quotes from myself relating to the trade of the previous tenants of which I have little or no knowledge and comments relating to my own time at the pub which I have not made,” he said.

“I would hope this planning application would be rejected and the community do not lose this historic building to yet another housing plan.”

Conran Homes has applied for Listed Building Consent and planning permission to convert the pub and residential unit into three new houses.

Other residents have objected to the plans.

Michael Crawshaw, from Burland, said: “This closure and destruction of a vital community asset will rip the heart out of the community of Acton and the surrounding areas.”

Carol Mace, from Acton, added: “The Star Inn has been used and enjoyed for over 500 years.

“Its current failure is due to extortionate rents being charged by the previous owners
Enterprise Inns with no capital investment being put in place in order to keep the building in good repair and upgraded where required.

“Loss of the pub would not only destroy the atmosphere of the village context but would also cause the loss of a vital and historic community asset.”

Acton Edleston and Henhull Parish Council also oppose the plan, saying: “No proper case has been made that the existing use of public house is not commercially viable.

“Although the property had been advertised for auction in April 2015 it was withdrawn and sold by private treaty, even though there was interest in acquiring it for continuing use as a public house, thus preventing properly testing the market.

“The Star has been a viable operation in recent times, but has suffered from a lack of investment and we believe a heavy rent burden from previous owners, Enterprise Inns.

“The council considers the design and access statement to be poor and inadequate. The proposed housing has little merit and would be incongruous in the village conservation area.

“The statements about the need for housing are clearly misplaced given other proposals in the parishes.”

A spokesperson for Enterprise Inns said: “A previous publican left The Star Inn on amicable terms, saying the pub was no longer viable.

“It was taken on by an existing Enterprise publican on an interim basis.

“However, it was later decided that further investment could not guarantee the pub’s future success, and it was sold. There are no restrictions preventing the new owner reinstating the building as a pub.”

A decision is due from Cheshire East Council in October.


  1. Awesome will be the word to describe a very old building deemed worthy of being saved by the sheer fact it has been listed.
    The sheer scale of works a listed building has to stand by will ensure it is not a pastiche.
    Many unlisted gems have long since been lost, at least we will have our local heritage quite rightly preserved in some form, although the loss of a local meeting place is rather disappointing but understandable.
    Far better to at least save the spirit of the place. As for the information that no one objected, I had that info from the council themselves.

  2. As a previous landlord I will add to this report by saying it is most definitely not supported by the local community. There are approximately 5 villagers who have continually supported The Star and the various groups/clubs mentioned rarely go. Enterprise did not charge high rent (you pay more per month to rent a house). It was the extras they charge that did not help and the fact they refused to invest in the building. There were a hard core of ‘regulars’ that would stop in on their way home from work but that was not enough to sustain a viable business. Yes it would be a shame to lose another pub in these times but as the industry declines it is going to happen. I am sure that the new owner is well aware of keeping the exterior appearance in accordance with English heritage so it would look no different, in fact it would look better as it is neglected now.

  3. It would be a great shame to lose The Star to residential development. Over the years it has been an immensely valuable asset to Acton, providing a social hub for residents as well as a welcome resource for walkers on the nearby long-distance path (Two Saints Way) and boaters from the Shropshire Union Canal. With some investment and modernisation The Star could, as previous tenants have shown, be a really viable business.
    Both bars had a terrific atmosphere – the building itself adds a great deal of character to the village.

    • Interestingly you could have objected earlier as the date for doing so passed in August.
      There were no neighbours who voted against this application

      • If by neighbours you mean people living in Acton, then some definitely did write and object to it. I know I certainly did. The Star has been a pub for 600 years. Once it has gone as a pub, it’s gone forever.

      • Hmmm – perhaps because people rarely like having a pub next door.

  4. It was a nice pub. Shame it has closed. Just another sign of the times, pubs are closing every day because less people use them.

  5. It is typical that character and local community issues have little or no weight in the process, its all about money and apparent need for homes. The value of this type of property as a Public House is far outweighing the few flats it would generate. All the pub manager says is true, and the Council should reject any proposed alteration. The building should be listed grade I and left. Another blow to rural communities, I hope the Parish and Council put the people first and oppose changes for the fat developers.

    • Why are developers fat?!! Or did you mean flat developers?
      I can assure you a crumbling 500 yr old building neglected for years, is not going to be cheap when you come to restore it.
      Add the grade two listing and you can add on more £££’s as restoration costs are huge, I know I have restored two buildings grade two!! Good luck, as it will be awesome when it is finished.

      • Awesome? I doubt it. More likely to be workmanlike. The design of the new houses is fairly uninspired. However, the main point is that there will no longer be a pub there – something which, despite some of the comments above, village residents and others will deeply miss.

        • CD, I would guess you have no experience of refurbishing a listed building yourself otherwise you would not have commented on the finish just being workmanlike.
          In my experience listed buildings are a nightmare in many ways, planning insist on specific materials, and repairs ( usually far more expensive to carry out) and the paperwork and delays are endless.
          It’s often like trying to build with your eyes closed, and certainly not stress free.
          If there was so much interest in the pub, how come no one has objected so far?

          • Des, I was commenting on the use of the word ‘awesome’ to describe what will no doubt be an acceptable but hardly awe-inspiring conversion.
            As the NN article and Sue B. say (above), AEH Parish Council and a number of local residents opposed the scheme.

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