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Fight continues to save village’s pub
12:00pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
A COMMUNITY has failed in its bid to buy a village pub – but the fight goes on.
Wellington Heath Parish Council successfully registered the empty Farmer’s Arms pub as a community asset, giving it the right to bid for the property.
But an undisclosed bid was refused by the pub's owners, Enterprise Inns.
And at an auction at Puckrup Hall, near Tewkesbury, last week, the Farmer’s Arms failed to reach its reserve price.
However, the council has not given up the fight and says it will back the pub being bought by a third party and restored as a country hostelry.
Parish councillor Patrick Adams said: “We are disappointed. The registering of assets as community assets does not lead to a foregone conclusion.
“But we think we made a realistic bid. This is still a live issue for us.
“Our preferred option is that someone buys it as a free house and re-establishes it as a country pub, and we would do all we could to support them.”
He also said the next parish council would discuss the way forward.
He said he knew interested third parties were still looking at the pub and hoped for a positive outcome. The pub, the only one in Wellington Heath, has been closed for more than a year, and Coun Adams was critical of its present condition.
He said: “I would call it unkempt. It should be in a better condition to give the right impression to interested parties.”
Peter Constantine, of the council’s pub sub-group said: “Are we disappointed? Yes.
“But we have one objective – to have a pub, and the objective is not necessarily to buy a pub.
“We are talking to people and hope for a successful outcome. Our business plan shows the pub could be made to work again.”
Mr Constantine said registering the pub as a community asset of value should help to protect it from any change of use planning application – a move which could mean the end of its life as a pub.
“We are trying to see off those developers,” he said.
The outcome will be of interest to campaigners in Ledbury, who registered a number of properties in the Lawnside Road area as community assets following interest from a developer who wants to put a superstore on the site.
An Enterprise spokesman said: “The Farmers Arms freehold remains for sale on the open market through Sidney Phillips, inviting offers in the region of £220,000 excluding VAT. The property is being marketed with the benefit of the premises licence and no restrictions on future use.”
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