A DERELICT pub that has attracted troublemakers is to become a village store.

The Farmer's Arms has been empty for two years since Punch Taverns closed the Middlewich Road pub after it failed to find a suitable tenant.

Residents, councillors and police said the boarded up pub had become an eyesore and attracted vandals and underage drinkers.

But now United Co-operatives has submitted a plan to Vale Royal Borough Council to alter the building's entrance, including a ramp and installing a cash machine.

Rudheath parish councillors have welcomed the idea and say it will be a valuable addition to the village.

Behaviour Clr Tony Lawrenson said: "It will clean up the area and do away with the anti-social behaviour."

Clr Pat Battison added: "It would have been ideal as a community facility but anything is better than the eyesore that we've got and it's a service for the village which is what comes first.

"I do think it would be better if it had been made into a community centre because we do need something like that but it will be welcomed."

The pub closure in March 2005 stirred unrest among the bowling community who feared they would lose the Middlewich Road bowling green.

But pub chain Punch Tavern gave Farmers Arm Bowling Club a stay of execution, allowing the bowlers to stay on site, even though the pub was closed.

For the team's reaction see next week's Guardian sport.