Cardiff North MP Anna McMorrin stood outside The Unicorn Inn. Credit: Natasha Hirst

Church with no weddings since lockdown welcomes likely return of nearby pub

Old St Mellons residents are pleased at a proposed £1.4m investment in village ‘eyesore’

A PROPOSED £1.4 million investment to reopen an Old St Mellons pub is being welcomed by the nearby church. which has not hosted a wedding since before lockdown.

The Unicorn Inn has been closed for five years since it was bought by Star Pubs & Bars. But a refurbishment could start in June, according to a company spokesperson.

MP for Cardiff North, Anna McMorrin, stood outside the disused pub. Credit: Natasha Hirst

The re-opening of the pub is a must for the community, according to Martin Gilbert, who is on the church council for nearby St Edeyrn’s.

According to Mr Gilbert, The Unicorn “just looks absolutely disgusting” and is in a “state of disrepair”.

The 53-year-old said the church had conducted no weddings since lockdown, causing it to lose revenue.

“Last year, we didn’t have a single wedding and much of this is down to the redevelopments in the local area and how much of an eyesore it is,” he said.

St Edeyrn’s Church in Old St Mellons has been impacted by the disused pub. Credit: Google Maps

Mr Gilbert said, when it was open, everyone would flock to the pub after weddings, funerals and baptisms at the church.

“From the good old days of the church, we did so many dos, we’d have a great relationship with the pub,” he said.

The Pontprennau resident hopes this investment will reignite this and bring more people to the church. He wants it to be a pub people can go for Sunday lunches and a drink in the evenings.

Constituents raised the pub closure with local MP Anna McMorrin last year and she and MS Julie Morgan intervened.

They wrote to Star Pubs & Bars asking for a site visit, during which the company stated its commitment to re-opening the pub.

Ms McMorrin held a Zoom meeting on January 20 with Star Pubs & Bars to keep the community updated and plans to continue these as the plan progresses.

“I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to secure the redevelopment of this well-loved pub in the heart of our community,” said Ms McMorrin.

“The Unicorn Inn’s dilapidated state has been a huge source of local concern for many years and I’m grateful to Star Pubs for committing its biggest 2023 investment of £1.4 million.”

Ms Morgan said: “It has been such a shame to witness The Unicorn deteriorate into its current condition.  I am thrilled that, due to our work with Star Pubs, The Unicorn will once again be a thriving hub for the community.

“Star Pub’s investment of £1.4 million clearly shows that this is a pub very much worth saving.”

Julie Morgan, MS for Cardiff North, outside The Unicorn Inn in Old St Mellons. Credit: Julie Morgan MS office

The proposed investment, which should be approved in the next few weeks, will be Star Pubs & Bars’ biggest capital investment of 2023.

A spokesperson said: “We have already invested in the region of £150,000 on site repairs to date.

“If the investment is approved, ideally we’d like to commence work on the refurbishment in June 2023, subject to the recruitment of a manager. Once complete, the newly refurbished pub is likely to create around 20 jobs, both full and part-time.”

Ms McMorrin said: “The focus now is to get someone in place to run the pub – the works to be carried out in June are dependent on this.

“Ideally we want someone from the local community and people are starting to come forward.”