New owner pledges to keep Caia Park’s last pub going

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

CAMPAIGNERS battling to keep their neighbourhood pub are delighted it now appears to have been saved.

A question mark has hung over the fate of the Red Dragon in Prince Charles Road – the Caia Park estate’s last remaining pub – since the beginning of the year.

In March Wrexham Council refused a controversial plan to turn the building into a rehabilitation centre for people recovering from brain injuries.

The application had sparked fury among local residents who said it would mean the loss of a vital community meeting point, which is also the home base for Sunday league football, darts and pool teams.

Early in June people campaigning to keep the Red Dragon as a pub had further concerns when the building was sold by owners Admiral Taverns and workmen moved in to board it up.

Campaigners had also seen work going on inside the building which some believed could be part of a plan to convert it into a shop.

At the time, the pub chain refused to say who had bought it.

But the Leader has now discovered the new owner is Chester solicitor Asif Saleem who said: “I am hoping to keep it as a pub and am now looking for a tenant.

“I am hoping to keep the name of the Red Dragon. It is difficult to find tenants for a pub at the moment but we are advertising.

“The work going on inside is to make the first floor presentable as living accommodation for the new tenant.”

Kath Williams, who led the campaign against the care home plan and is assistant secretary of the Red Dragon’s football team, said: “We had been trying to find out who the new owner was but without success.

“I am elated to hear the Leader has spoken to Mr Saleem and he has said the Red Dragon will be kept as a pub. We were desperately hoping this would happen so it can go on serving the community on the estate.

“We are anxious to see when it will open again and as soon as it does I will be talking to the owner to see if it can go on being the base for our sports teams.”

She added: “I will now spread the good news and be asking as many people as possible to support the pub when it re-opens.”

Queensway councillor Carrie Harper, who backed the campaign to save the Red Dragon, said: “I very much hope the new owner’s intention is to keep it as a pub for the community.”

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