ONE of the oldest pubs in St Helens, believed to date back to the 18th Century, faces demolition if plans go ahead for 16 homes on its site.

The proposals to bulldoze The Black Horse on Moss Bank Road have been met with fierce opposition from neighbours who fear another focal point for the community will be lost forever.

Steppingstone Building Developments say the scheme will include two, three, four and five bedroom family homes.

They have also pledged to include 25 per cent affordable housing.

The origins of The Black Horse are believed to go back to the time Thomas Greenall bought the inn as part of his rapidly expanding brewery in St Helens.

It is listed in Greenall’s rent book in 1800, so dates back to the late 1700s. The pub is said to have staged cock-fights and was frequented by Lords Derby and Gerard.

In its planning statement, Steppingstone claim that the pub’s bowling-green is no longer in use, and there is no evidence that one should be provided locally.

The buildings will face a shared public courtyard, the centre of which will feature an existing oak tree.

A period of public consultation into the development started on Friday, Nov 9 and runs to Monday, Dec 3.