Villagers rallying together to try and save local pubs

VILLAGERS have been pulling together in a bid to try and save their local pubs from closure.

The pub industry has been hit by a number of issues over the past few years such as the smoking ban, last month’s VAT rise and competing with supermarkets who are able to sell alcohol at heavily reduced prices.

With more pubs going to the wall, there is a rise in local people taking action to save their favourite watering holes.

In Welton, a group has been formed to try and prevent The White Horse in the village closing, while the landlord at The Cross Tree Inn in Byfield has called on suggestions from local folk to help improve trade.

Villagers in Charwelton are also trying to reopen The Fox and Hounds as a going concern after the pub closed and was boarded up last month.

To top that, the popular summer canalside pub, the Admiral Nelson in Braunston shut its doors at the start of the year.

Chris Smith is one of the people behind the White Horse Action Group (WHAG).

He said: “The pub is an important community resource and we want it to remain so for all sectors of people living in the village.”

The group is in communication with Criterion Asset Management – now managing the estate of The Wellington Pub Company which owns the pub in Welton.

New tenants are currently being sought to run the pub.

Another WHAG member, Roy Patrick, said: “There were around 15 people who attended the first meeting so there is a lot of people concerned about the future of the pub.

“This village has four very good assets, the school, the church, the village hall and the pub.

“All of these things can make a difference in terms of people wanting to live here, so we hope the villagers will help us out.

“We will be keeping people informed about the progress they have in finding a new tenant.”

Meanwhile The Cross Tree Inn, writing to the Daventry Express, has asked people what they would like from their pub.

Bridgid Hurn, landlord, said: “In Byfield, there used to be five pubs in the village. Now there is only us and the village club.

“We are not in the position where we are struggling – this is a pre-emptive strike to make sure that does not happen.

“We would have liked more of a response from local people, but there are one or two good ideas that have come out of it and we shall be looking to take on those.”

The villagers of Charwelton will also be urging Enterprise Inns to make sure someone takes on the pub.

Richard Bourne, who is leading the campaign, said: “We have asked people to help out and they have been interested but it is a different matter when you ask people to put their hands in their pockets.

“We are going to keep the pressure on Enterprise Inns who own the pub and we have the involvement of [the MP] Chris Heaton-Harris so we hope it will put The Fox and the Hounds at the top of the list in terms of finding a new tenant.”