December 6 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Campaigners battling to preserve their town’s oldest pub have welcomed a council’s decision to safeguard it as a community asset.
The Crown, in Ollands Road, Reepham was safeguarded by Broadland District Council yesterday when councillors voted for the change which means the local community has the chance to bid if it goes on the market.
Reepham town councillor Michael Cowdrey submitted the application for the asset status on behalf of the council.
He said the Crown had been a part of the town’s life for more than 160 years and that it was “not a dying pub”.
“People in suits and ties, shorts and working clothes all go down there for a drink,” he said. “It’s one of the few pubs where you go and there are four generations of a family in.
“And with plans for almost 200 new houses to be built in Reepham, I think the Crown would be a very important element in integrating them into the town.”
The decision comes after a couple tried to turn the property into their home.
Their plans were refused by Broadland on the grounds it would result in the loss of a community facility and a local business.
Town council chairman, Les Paterson, said he was “delighted” with the council’s decision and he hoped the asset status will protect the establishment.
“It’s really good news for the town,” he said.
“At the town council we are looking to protect employment in the town. If the pub closes then that’s five jobs gone. We want to keep employment in Reepham and attract people to come here.”
He said the town council would provide “moral but not financial support” to anyone in the community who wanted to bid for the pub.
If the pub, made up of three 19th century terraced cottages and owned by Punch Taverns, was to close Reepham would have just one pub as the Old Brewery House Hotel is to close later this month.
A spokesman for Punch Taverns said: “We agree that pubs are valuable community assets, which is why we have spent £45m investing in our properties this year.
“Where pubs are operated well and supported by their local community, they should remain viable.
“However, others may no longer have such potential and would better serve the local community under different ownership.
We welcome the local support and we would be happy to consider all offers.”