Meet Sidbury pub’s new owner

The Red Lion Inn, Sidbury. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shb 4432-40-13AW The Red Lion Inn, Sidbury. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shb 4432-40-13AW

Friday, August 1, 2014
6:00 AM

The future of Sidbury’s village pub has been secured after a campaign to save it was outbid by a private investor.

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Tom Barrington is taking on the Red Lion from heavily-indebted Punch Taverns now a six-month sale restriction has expired.

It is set to reopen after renovation work will restore it to its former glory, serving food and offering accommodation, at the beginning of September.

“I’m going to keep it as a village pub but it will be a whole lot nicer, brighter and tidier,” said Tom, who has been ‘in and around’ Sidbury for 16 years.

“Come along and make up your own minds.”

The 53-year-old has worked in the bar trade and many other jobs but the Red Lion is his first pub, which he will run as a free house.

He is looking for a cook to revive the kitchen plus bar staff, and he is also renovating the bed and breakfast accommodation.

The Save the Red Lion campaigners had also been vying to buy the pub, using the Localism Act to have it listed as an Asset of Community Value and blocking its sale to anyone else.

They sold shares to fund the pub’s purchase, but when they were unable to meet the asking price in the allotted time, Punch Taverns looked elsewhere.

The group had an ambitious vision to transform it into a community hub, offering services such as a post office and dry cleaning, as well as opening in the daytime for coffee and cake.

It won the support of Hugo Swire MP and the Reverend Susie Williams, who both wanted to see the pub retained for the community.

But Red Lion regular Chalky White Jr said the plans had split drinkers between those who wanted to see it transformed and those who wanted it kept as a traditional village pub.

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