Story by: ANDREW PAPWORTH, Reporter
Friday, July 9, 2010
PUNTERS who saved their beloved pub from being turned into housing say their battle isn’t over.
Committee members of the Save Our Pub action group have issued a “use or lose it” warning to drinkers at The Nags Head in Eastrea.
Despite thwarting a bid by owners David Lepla and John Harris to convert the Grade Two Listed Building into six two-bedroom homes, they say it is now crucial the pub makes money.
If they fail, punters fear their pub could succumb to future planning applications.
Committee chairman Clare Hammond, who was this week praised for her campaign in the House of Commons by North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay, said: “It is pleasing to know we have got the support of the local community.”
However, she added that punters had met Mr Lepla and Mr Harris and agreed to “work with them to increase profits”. Ms Hammond said this meant a new campaign was underway to make the pub even more popular than before.
She said: “They want to increase profits and we have got to ask the public what they want to see happen in the pub.
“Since we started this campaign more and more people have begun to support us. It has raised awareness about the pub and certainly made a change.”
As a result the pub, which has been described as “the beating heart of the community”, wants to hold more family and community activities to bring more people through the door.
It wants to support organisations by offering them venues for their activities and meetings, and it is focusing on how it can market the pub’s special offers better to tempt passers-by into the bar.
Ms Hammond said: “The Nags Head does many good things but if there is nothing outside the pub to tell people about it, they won’t come through the door.”
Mr Lepla and Mr Harris say the pub has lost £20,000 since reopening in 1997 but Fenland District Council has ruled that financial loss “is not a reason to allow the conversion of a pub”.