A BREWERY says the "long-term decline" of a pub that lies at the heart of a Whitefield estate is the reason for its pending closure.

Hundreds of people have voiced their dismay over JW Lees' plans to shut The Lord Clive next month.

On Monday, the brewery gave tenant Leanne Doherty and her family four weeks' notice, informing them that a sale of the building to a property developer was imminent.

A petition has been set up to save the venue, which is situated on the Hillock estate.

The Lord Clive is understood to have been on the market for more than two years, with staff saying "they never thought it would be sold."

Miss Doherty says she was aware that the public house had been put up for sale when she and her family moved into the premises just over two years ago.

A spokesman for JW Lees said: “It is with great regret that due to difficult trading conditions and the long-term decline of the business at the Lord Clive, we have decided to sell our lease on the property.

“We have always been transparent about the temporary nature of the agreement that we entered into with our licensee at the Lord Clive, and our intentions to eventually sell the pub. Since informing our pub partner of the pending sale last week we have been in touch again to make it clear that we will discuss options for an extended notice period should this be required.”

Earlier this week there was public outcry over the announcement that the pub will close — a decision which will also mean job losses for two members of staff.

Residents have written to JW Lees calling for them to reconsider their decision.

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

Miss Doherty, who runs the pub with partner Dale, told the Bury Times her family is "heartbroken" and has set up a petition to save The Lord Clive.

The mother-of-four's post reads: "On Monday we were give four weeks' notice to leave our business and home.

"JW Lees have not given the community a chance to have their say. This pub is at the heart of the community and the only pub left on the estate. We now only have a matter of weeks to put something together to at least try and stop this from going ahead so please help and sign our petition.

"We have put our all into this place and would carry on doing so for many more years to come if we had a choice so please help!!! FIGHT FOR OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY PUB.... THE LORD CLIVE."

To sign the petition visit www.change.org/p/jw-lees-keep-our-local-community-pub-open.