VILLAGERS have applied for a landmark pub to be listed as a community asset in a bid to re-open it as a ‘focal point’ for residents.
The Victoria and Albert, in Netherhampton, closed in September 2021 and villagers say it has been ‘neglected’ ever since.
The pub is currently listed for sale with the Caldecotte Group, with a guide price of £325,000.
Now, Netherhampton Parish Council has applied to Wiltshire Council to have the pub listed as an ‘Asset of Community Value’.
If granted, the status would mean the community is effectively given first refusal on any option to buy the ‘asset’, so long as it would be used for ‘the community’s social wellbeing’.
“On behalf of all residents, the parish council has been engaging with a local businessman who is keen to re-establish the pub as a going concern, but the owners seem to be avoiding the discussion,” the application said.
“Our community has decided that we need to do whatever we can to protect against the danger that the pub is allowed to decay further and/or is turned to residential use,” it added.
“We have canvassed our residents on the subject. When writing in support of a reopening many residents have expressed their sadness at seeing the ‘hub of the village’ looking ‘sad and run down’.
“Others describe the pub as a ‘focal point’ and ‘the only place to meet and socialise in the village’.”
The council says residents are ‘dismayed’ the Grade 2-listed pub has been allowed to ‘sit vacant and crumble away’.
“In the past, village gatherings such as Jubilee celebrations and summer fetes, and events at St Catherine’s Church have benefited enormously from the presence of a happy, functioning pub providing practical facilities such as loos, power and water as well as drinks and food,” the application added.
“Any village event is more rudimentary and much harder to stage with the pub closed.
“The village does not have any bus service, and in these times when we are all being encouraged to drive less, the pub was/will be the only option for eating out within walking or cycling distance.”
It says new developments would add to the customer base of the pub and that the loss of the venue would be a ‘severe blow to the community life of our village and our parish’.
Wiltshire Council will make a final decision on whether to list the pub by April 11.
For more details, and to comment on the application, log on to www.wiltshire.gov.uk and search for application reference ACV/2023/00005.
Owner of the Victoria and Albert, the Wellington Pub Company, has been contacted for comment on the application.