Four pubs in Wiltshire have been given special protected status
By Western Daily Press | Thursday, August 15, 2013, 05:00
Four pubs in Wiltshire are among the 100 that have now been given special protected status.
Last month, two pubs near Chippenham in north Wiltshire were given the status by Wiltshire Council chiefs.
The Jolly Huntsman in Kington St Michael, a privately-owned, thriving freehouse, was nominated by parish councillors.
However the other, the Peterborough Arms at Dauntsey Lock, near Lyneham, faces a more uncertain future.
The Peterborough Arms closed a few months ago and its owners, Devizes-based brewery Wadworth's, have applied for planning permission to turn it into a house.
It is one of just three remaining pubs built to serve the barge-runners on the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal, and survived as a village pub for 100 years after the canal shut in 1910. Now the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust , which is restoring the 52-mile canal which links the Kennet & Avon to the Thames north of Swindon, has won the special status for the pub. They now have less than six months to raise enough funds to buy the pub. However, the owners only have to inform the local community if the pub is under threat, not to act. Wadworth's could still go ahead with their conversion plan.
Two other pubs in Wiltshire have also gained the status – the White Horse at Quidhampton, near Salisbury, and the Wheatsheaf at Chilton Foliat.
The Notley Arms at Monksilver in West Somerset had been open for just five months in four years when villagers asked for it to be registered as a community asset, one of the first in the West Country to win the status.
The then owner had revamped it to the point where locals said it looked like: "an airport lounge" but the change did not help trade. He closed hoping to convert it to residential use but the Monksilver Action Group and parish council won the listing.
The Action group hoped to buy it as a community pub but could not afford the asking price.
Then Simon Murphy and Caroline Hykiel, a couple with a remarkable passion for community life, came to the rescue. They bought it, moved back West from London, have transformed the pub back to its old-world self with its original elm bar, and new slate floor, taken on a chef, reopened quietly and plan to soon be open from 8am-11pm serving breakfasts as well as other meals.
"We want to do what we can for the community that has welcomed us back to the South West," said Mr Murphy yesterday. It's a very difficult environment for the public house these days and we have to ensure we meet the needs of the community."
Parish councillor and action group member Ross Urquhart said: "the whole community here is absolutely delighted at the transformation of the pub into a real community venue and how grateful we are for the fantastic commitment they have made. Simon and Caroline are to be congratulated on the results of all the effort they have put in to this venture. It really is great news when we hear of a pub opening as against the thousands that are closing. If the first few weeks of opening are anything to go by, this is going to be a very successful business. Great atmosphere, great owners, great food and drink - what more could we ask?"