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South Holland District Council chairman warns people to use village pubs as Saracen's Head site faces demolition

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Residents have been warned that they must support their village pubs - after permission was given for one establishment to be demolished.

The owners of the New Saracens Head pub have been granted permission to knock down the building and replace it with housing.

The pub, in Washway Road, Saracens Head, is not said to be financially viable any more.

Saracens Head pub which is being converted into housing. (52842261)
Saracens Head pub which is being converted into housing. (52842261)

At Wednesday’s planning committee meeting, South Holland District Council development manager Richard Fidler told members that the pub had only made ‘very very modest’ profits in recent years - and only then because the family had staffed it themselves, in effect subsidising the premises.

He said: “In an ideal world pubs would be supported and continue to trade, but it has been marketed with no interest.”

He said the pub has rising damp and part of the building is not currently habitable.

Residents have raised objections - but a report to members suggested that not enough people use it.

Coun Paul Redgate issued a plea to residents across the district - calling on them to back their local pubs if they don’t want to see them suffer the same fate as the New Saracens Head.

He said: “We need residents to understand if they are not using facilities there’s very little opportunity open to us than to see other ways and means of using these sites.”

He added: “If they want to safeguard facilities they have to use them and commit to using them regularly.”

Coun Mick Seymour said that village pubs are virtually a thing of the past and that he agreed that the pub should be allowed to go, despite it being a ‘shame’.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said that the family, who have run the pub for the past 30 years, need some certainty for their future. He said: “The community needs to help them move on from something that has now failed.”

Committee chairman James Avery said that Saracens Head had been ‘left behind’ in recent decades - with a butchers, post office, shop and garages all lost.

The application did not state what will replace the pub - with a separate plan needed to deal with that proposal.

Mr Fidler explained this further application would have to follow the full planning process - giving residents and members chance to have a say.

Members discussed the fact that government cash is available for communities to take on their pubs - but said there was no such groundswell of supoort in this case.

This is not the pub which gave the village its name - with that being originally sited on the other side of the A17 and demolished in the 1960s.

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