Leisure centre events bosses are set to step in to save one of Doncaster’s best known pubs – months after it shut down.
The Leopard on West Street closed earlier this year, after decades as one of the borough’s highest profile venues for music.
But the firm which runs the gigs, conferences and bars for Doncaster Dome and the rest of the former Doncaster Council-run leisure centres is now looking at taking it over, in a move which would be a boost to The Doncaster Star’s Save Our Pubs campaign.
Doncaster Conferencing, Catering and Events Ltd is now in talks about the possibility of taking it over from Enterprise Inns, the pub company which owns it.
Michael Hart, chief executive of Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, said: “The company that runs the events at our venues has been in initial discussions with Enterprise Inns regarding The Leopard. The Leopard had a great musical history and has played an important role in Doncaster for many years.
“DCCE are aware of The Star’s Save Our Pubs campaign and are hoping to add to its success by exploring further the possibilities associated with The Leopard.”
If a deal can be done, the move would create a link between two of Doncaster’s best known music venues.
DCCE currently works for The Dome leisure centre on Bawtry Road, which has staged shows by acts from Paul Weller to Jake Bugg and Kasabian. The Leopard has traditionally had up-and-coming bands on its stage, as well as former stars. Travis played there shortly before becoming a household name, and 1980s stars Bad Manners have been among the biggest crowd-pullers.
Dave Wicks, manager of The Corner Pin pub nearby, said he would welcome the caterers’ involvement.
“It would bring trade to the street and, if they are revamping it, and making it a bigger venue for music, that would be even better,” he said.
“It would mean the trust would have a venue for music in the town centre, as well as The Dome further out of town.
“We would hopefully benefit in this part of town by people coming to our bars before and after gigs, and even getting food.
“We were really busy on occasions they had gigs there in the past.”
The Doncaster branch of the Campaign for Real Ale is also keen to get a deal done.
Community pubs officer Pete Kennedy said: “I think it would be a good thing.
“It used to be a really successful music venue, and there is a booming live music scene in Doncaster.
“I think this would contribute to making the borough a more thriving cultural place.
“If it keeps pubs open, I think it would be great.”
No comment was available from Enterprise Inns last night.
The Star is currently running a Save Our Pubs campaign to keep the borough’s pubs open, and has joined with CAMRA to collect names on a petition calling for changes to the law to help locals survive.
We want the Government to bring in laws to ensure fair rents for landlords, and to give landlords more freedom to choose their own beer suppliers at affordable prices.