A FAMILY has been given four weeks to leave a pub which has become their home and livelihood as a brewery looks to sell it to developers.

The Lord Clive, in Whitefield, which is the home of tenant Leanne Doherty, her partner Dale and her four children, will shut its doors next month.

The closure of the pub, which lies at the heart of the Hillock estate, will also mean job losses for two members of staff.

Miss Doherty says the family is "heartbroken" at the announcement, while members of the community are both "outraged and devastated" at the pending closure.

A representative of brewery JW Lees visited the pub yesterday to give the family their legal notice, informing Miss Doherty that contracts have been exchanged with property developers and that a sale is imminent.

"We are absolutely gutted", Miss Doherty said. "My children are heartbroken. We have put everything into this place. We will be homeless and jobless.

"The Lord Clive means a huge amount to the community; it is not just a pub, it is like a big home. People say they grew up in here. Someone in her 50s remembers having her 16th and 18th birthdays here.

"We knew it was going up for sale and we were told an offer had been put in but there has been no consultation. No one has had a chance to do anything about it.

"On Friday, a man was on our carpark — he said he was here to measure up and to board up the pub.

"We are both very upset after all the hard work we have put in to keep it going for it to be taken away like this.

"We are heartbroken as I believe you all will be too and will be very sad to leave. I would also like to say thanks very much to everyone. We have made some great friends here and will miss everyone. Also massive thank you to Jean and Simon couldn't of done it with out you — we are truly gutted."

The Lord Clive in Mersey Drive, which dates back to about the 1970s, is described by members of the public as being "at the heart of the community."

The pub hosts regular community events including bingo, karaoke, children's parties, summer barbecues, pensioner's get-togethers and also funeral wakes.

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide: The Lord Clive has hosted dozens of community eventsThe Lord Clive has hosted dozens of community events

Jean Johnson, a part-time barmaid at the pub, said: "I think it is disgusting that it is being shut. The Lord Clive is a pub where people feel safe. The whole estate comes here.

"I heard rumours that it was on the market but I didn't think it would happen.

"Leanne and Dale have worked so hard to make this pub what it is and I want to thank them for all they have done."

Pub regular Robert Henderson has written a letter to JW Lees in which he "implores them" to reconsider their decision.

Mr Henderson, aged 65 and who lives just metres away from the pub, said: "It's not just a pub, it's the centre of our community and has been for more than 50 years."

He wrote to JW Lees: "If you carry out this sale the community will lose its heart and you may not care about that but hundreds if not thousands of local people will suffer.

"With the loss of the Albert, and the Elizabethan very recently, there is no where else on the estate for people to meet and socialise. It is the only pub that I have ever been to where 18 to 80-year-olds mix comfortably and for some of those older ones it's what they look forward to even once a week.

"I implore you to reconsider and give Leanne and her family a chance to improve our local even more than they have done already."

Miss Doherty and her family have been given until July 9 to leave the premises.

Prestwich and Whitefield Guide: Leanne Doherty, tenant landlady at The Lord Clive, received this letter from brewery JW LeesLeanne Doherty, tenant landlady at The Lord Clive, received this letter from brewery JW Lees

A letter from the brewery, addressed to Miss Doherty, reads: "As you are aware, JW Lees has been looking at the possibility of selling the freehold of The Lord Clive over the last year. You will recall that I advised you that a bid had been accepted earlier in the year and that the due process had begun to complete a sale.

"That process has now reached the point that contracts have been exchanged and the sale will complete approximately 28 days after exchange.

"Under the term of your Tenancy at Will agreement, I am formally writing to advise you that your agreement will terminate at 10am on Tuesday, July 9, 2019.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your considerable efforts during your time at The Lord Clive, often in difficult circumstances. If I can be of any assistance as you move on to future ventures, please don't hesitate to ask."

The Bury Times has approached JW Lees for comment.