Villagers in Gedney Hill are celebrating stopping a plan to turn their only pub into a house – but now need to raise £170,000 to buy it.
Save Our Pub (Red Lion, Gedney Hill) campaigners have six months to come up with the cash, having been successful in getting the property listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).
We have traditionally not wanted to sell our village pubsRobin Hotson, estates manager Elgood and Sons Ltd
While the pub has ACV status it can only be sold to a Relevant Community Interest Group – people who will use the property for the benefit of the local community. It cannot be sold for conversion to a house.
In September, a plan to change the use of the pub to a home was refused by South Holland District Council because councillors agreed with the planning officer’s view that proposed external works would have a harmful impact on the special architectural and historic character of the Grade 11 listed building.
Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, chairman of the planning committee warned a refusal would only stop the conversion and not save the pub. But campaigners announced they still had a wild card to play.
Calvin Widdowson, who launched the Save Our Pub Facebook campaign in June, said: “Every community should have a village pub. Gedney Hill used to have four or five and now it has none. We are confident the Red Lion would make a nice little turnover – we just need to come up with a plan to raise the cash.
“We formed a charitable limited company to make the ACV bid to the district council. If we can raise the money to buy it there’s an army of people ready to go in with paint brushes and I have a digger to sort out the grounds.”
Robin Hotson, estates manager at owners Elgood and Sons Ltd, said: “We have traditionally not wanted to sell our village pubs. The Red Lion had struggled for 10 years and been empty for three when we put it up for sale.
“We had the odd enquiry but nothing came of them until we accepted the last offer, but that has now been withdrawn. Now the ACV has been granted we have to wait and see what the community comes up with. We would be happy to have it as a pub again and sell our beer through it.”
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