If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Struggling pub given "one last go"
A STRUGGLING pub has been given one last chance to prove it is still viable or it could be turned into housing.
The Butt of Ale at the Paul’s Dene estate in Salisbury has had a series of landlords in recent years who have tried to make it work but it closed again in March this year, sparking fears among locals that their community pub would be lost forever.
Wiltshire Council’s southern area planning committee considered an application for four houses to be built on the site of the pub at a meeting on Thursday night.
The committee heard that falling trade and rising costs mean the pub is no longer viable and the last landlord couldn’t make it work even with the benefit of 12 months rent free, but a representative from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and residents turned up to fight for their local.
Peter Wicks from CAMRA said the estate is like a village community, and allowing the plan would mean losing the only community facility in the area. He urged councillors to “do the right thing and preserve this community use”.
Mary Douglas, the local councillor for the area, told the committee: “It would be a matter of great regret to close this community facility. I am not convinced that this pub is irrevocably unviable and 14 local residents and CAMRA are also not convinced. We must do all that we can to make sure that it is not closed unnecessarily.”
Cllr Richard Britton said the report on the viability of the pub was “unsatisfactory” and too general and cllr Ian McLennan said the committee had a duty as representatives of the community to give it “one last go”.
But cllr Fred Westmoreland said not enough people want to save the pub.
“When they closed the pub in Shrewton there were 350 objectors,” he said. “We only have a relatively small number of people here. For nine years this pub has had problems, and there comes a point when you have to accept that this one isn’t going to work.”
Despite this, the council voted six to four in favour of refusing the planning application and giving the pub a last chance to fulfil its purpose.