Housing or our Pub?
We were outbid at auction in July. There was only one other bidder and, without them, we might have bought the pub for less than we had already offered to the receivers.
Nearly three months on, we still don’t know who owns the pub and, a short while ago, details at Land Registry still had not changed, despite the auction conditions stating that completion of the sale was required by the last week in August.
After the auction we wrote to the new owners via the receivers offering the community’s support in getting the place up and running again. We did not receive a response.
The questions remain: “who owns the pub?” and, more importantly, “what are their intentions?”. We have advice and financial support from the Plunkett Foundation “on hold” pending resolution of these questions.
As time passes it seems more and more likely that a developer has bought the site. And, assuming they did their homework, they will know how important the pub and shop are to the community and presumably they just don’t care. Planning permission is required for a change of use for the pub, so we must be ready to oppose this to ensure the pub is not lost.
A developer may of course reopen the pub with the purpose of “proving it is not viable”. This is very easy to do and involves providing a miserable landlord, rubbish beer, minimal investment and rotten service. No-one goes more than once… you get the picture!
However the pub was made an Asset of Community Value (ACV) because a huge proportion of our tiny community demonstrated that they still want the pub. Our subsequent survey showed that the shop and pub were both very important to the villagers. And our plans indicated how a shop, continental style café, pub and B&B would be feasible and financially viable.
In addition, many of the nearby pubs in small communities are successful. Notable and very local are The Stag in Barkston and The Wheatsheaf in Dry Doddington. Both amply show how, providing great friendly service and good value, they are popular and able to operate successfully.
We stand ready to advise, help and encourage the new owners to reopen the pub and shop.
Leaving the building to rot in situ is not an acceptable option. The pub is becoming an eyesore and needs maintenance and renovation to bring it up to acceptable standards. Had the community bought the pub there were several options open for grant assistance and match funding which, together with the proceeds of the share offer and additional planned fundraising, would have enabled us to reopen in a new guise and provide the community hub that locals so sorely miss.
The Plunkett Foundation had already awarded us a “More than a Pub” bursary, which we have yet to spend, and were ready to guide us through the new government backed funding scheme. We were to be their guinea pig.
We might all be disappointed by the current set-back but we must remain up-beat and hopeful. All is not lost!
NO GIVING UP!