Campaigners organised to save Sidbury pub

PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 May 2013

Sidbury into drama group outside the Red Lion Inn. Photo by Terry Ife ref shb 2351-20-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Sidbury into drama group outside the Red Lion Inn. Photo by Terry Ife ref shb 2351-20-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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Campaigners were mobilised to restore the Red Lion's roar at a meeting in Sidbury on Sunday.

A steering group was set up to look at options for the pub, the future of which is in the balance as owners Punch Taverns have put it on the market.

They could even use legislation by arguing it is not just somewhere to go for a pint, but an ‘asset of community value’ to be protected.

Campaigner John Loudoun said: “There’s a great deal of concern because this is the last pub in the village.”

More than 50 villagers, regulars and interested parties attended, and many others sent their apologies.

“The group represented a cross section of village life – not just enthusiasts who drink there,” John added.

Consensus was that the pub could be an exciting and successful business for the right investor, and the campaigners agreed they should not let it become ‘another closed and unused property’ that would blight the village.

The steering group will look at key issues, such as how to contest a potential change of use application, and whether they should develop a business plan for the pub.

If they can prove the pub furthers the community’s social wellbeing or social interests, there is a chance to use the Localism Act to put together a community bid for the property on the open market.

John said: “The negative position would be to say ‘there’s X number of pubs closing every week’, but this is us saying ‘let’s try to save it’.

“Some campaigns have raised significantly more than the Red Lion’s [£295,000] asking price.”

“People know that a lot of money would be needed, but nonetheless it’s doable – it may be an option we have to explore.”

The Save The Red Lion Campaign Group now has more than 60 supporters, but they need more backing. To lend support, email thepubinthevillage@gmail.com.

The next meeting date has not yet been set but will be published on the group’s blog, http://thepubinthevillage.blogspot.co.uk/.

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