Little Cheverell residents upset over loss of pub

This Is Wiltshire: Residents outside The Owl pub which has closed and will be turned into a house instead Residents outside The Owl pub which has closed and will be turned into a house instead

Residents in Little Cheverell are lamenting the loss of their village pub after permission was granted for it to be turned into a house.

The Owl was bought by Jeremy Mitchell from Enterprise Inns in December 2010. He did not intend to open it but bowed to public pressure the next summer.

But he said it made a loss and last October applied for a change in planning use for it to become a private house.

His application attracted 20 objections, including one from the parish council, and one letter of support. Wiltshire Council granted planning permission under delegated powers last month.

Residents opposed to his plan claim he opened the pub at irregular hours, was inexperienced and deliberately ran it down.

Mr Mitchell declined to speak to the Gazette but, in his submission as part of his planning application, he accused villagers of not supporting the pub.

He said: “One of the common themes from the objections is that I have not run the pub long enough. Almost 18 months, I counter, is long enough to continue to make a loss.

“When I came to this village almost exactly two years ago, The Owl was closed, shuttered and dead. I am the guy who listened to the village and renovated, rejuvenated and re-opened it.

“I put my heart, my body and my soul into it.

“Of all the pubs most that are susceptible to closure in the UK, surely The Owl is one of the most likely, most fragile and most vulnerable because of its ‘off the beaten track’ location in a narrow lane, small car park and kitchen and tiny population of mainly ‘not pub people’.”

Wiltshire Council commissioned an independent consultant to assess The Owl, who concluded it was inherently unviable.

Little Cheverell has a population of about 150 people.

Villager Mike Brain, a former parish councillor, said: “Although I’m not a regular customer of The Owl I still felt it was sad that it should no longer be a pub. The consultant said it was unviable but you could say that for almost any pub off the main road.”

Resident Mary Wheeler said: “Jeremy had made the pub so beautiful, it was the best it has ever looked. It’s very sad for the village to lose a pub. It’s something I have supported for 30 years.”

Comments (3)

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1:57pm Sun 10 Feb 13

mick mullin says...

It is true that villagers as a whole do not regularly support their local pub,i have every sympathy with the landlord here.
What people do not realise is that you lose a whole section of potential housebuyers when you try to sell as a lot of people want a village pub.
So to avoid many more closures get down to the local pub. When its gone its gone!!
It is true that villagers as a whole do not regularly support their local pub,i have every sympathy with the landlord here. What people do not realise is that you lose a whole section of potential housebuyers when you try to sell as a lot of people want a village pub. So to avoid many more closures get down to the local pub. When its gone its gone!! mick mullin
  • Score: 0

4:04pm Mon 11 Feb 13

jezercalne says...

The locals clearly did not support it. It closed. Get over it and move on.
The locals clearly did not support it. It closed. Get over it and move on. jezercalne
  • Score: 1

1:41pm Mon 18 Feb 13

Dottymoo says...

Many people from the surronding villages tired to support this pub but when you turn up on a Friday night and it is closed or you have walked a fair distance for a pub lunch and a pint and it's closed you tend to get a bit fed up and go elsewhere!! The Guy who bought it knew right from the very start that people did not want to lose their only pub so why take it away!! this guy made sure he ran it at a loss so that he would get his wish in the end. Such a shame as it could make a fantastic pub and B&B if it was in the right hands!!
Many people from the surronding villages tired to support this pub but when you turn up on a Friday night and it is closed or you have walked a fair distance for a pub lunch and a pint and it's closed you tend to get a bit fed up and go elsewhere!! The Guy who bought it knew right from the very start that people did not want to lose their only pub so why take it away!! this guy made sure he ran it at a loss so that he would get his wish in the end. Such a shame as it could make a fantastic pub and B&B if it was in the right hands!! Dottymoo
  • Score: -1

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