Village’s only pub is saved - for now

The Avon at Avon Dassett. NNL-161008-102217009
The Avon at Avon Dassett. NNL-161008-102217009
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The only pub in a nearby village has been saved from being turned into a house.

A plan to turn The Avon pub in Avon Dassett into a seven-bedroom house was withdrawn by the pub’s owners, Steve and Kate Chick, on Wednesday September 14.

The application, submitted to Stratford District Council, came after the pub’s new owners operated it for just four months and then closed citing it was not financially viable as a business.

Cllr Mike Blakeman, vice chairman of Avon Dassett Parish Council said: “We are delighted the application has been withdrawn, but welcome the news with some caution.

“This is a small village and we have no other amenities. We were really pleased when the pub reopened.

“However, we quickly became concerned about its long-term future when the owners started to open and close at random and offered an extremely limited menu.”

The application, which the council had recommended for approval, attracted widespread criticism from residents and campaign groups with approximately 100 letters of objection submitted.

This prompted the council to rethink and agree with suggestions that a more rigorous assessment was needed to determine if the pub was viable.

Cllr Blakeman added: “The community came together and sent out a message that this plan was unacceptable.

“Whilst we see this as a small victory, it doesn’t alter the fact that we still don’t have a village pub, so our campaign is not over yet.”

The owners initially claimed the Avon was a ‘financial disaster’ and claimed they could not go on putting thousands of pounds into the pub as it would make them bankrupt.

But Avon Dassett Parish Council questioned the wisdom of the pub’s owners when they decided to buy it in the first place.

In a statement objecting to the plan, a spokesman said: “The applicant repeatedly refers to the size of Avon Dassett and the sparsely populated surroundings, but these were facts that existed when they purchased the Avon and presumably their business plan and marketing strategy reflected this.”