A community is battling to bring a former village pub back into the fold by having it designated as a community asset, despite failing three times. 

A number of Kington Langley residents have banded together in order to prepare a fourth case for Wiltshire Council to have The Plough named as an Asset of Community Value. 

The public house is currently owned by The Down Gospel Trust which says it has no intention of selling up, and has been transparent with residents about its intentions. 

Fears of losing the pub for good came when representatives for the new owners – who purchased the pub in November 2020 – told the parish council that The Plough would never be a pub again. 

This Is Wiltshire: The Plough Inn, Kington LangleyThe Plough Inn, Kington Langley

Andy Turner, who represents the owners, said the church has done things properly and has spent good money tidying the area up.

Mr Turner added The Plough had been vacant for a number of years before it was purchased and there was ample opportunity for the residents to bid for it.

“We didn’t rush to buy it,” he told the LDRS. “It was available for two to three years and it appeared that as soon as it was found out that we had bought it, this action group suddenly got very active in wanting to put an Asset of Community Value on it.”

Campaign group Kington Communities Enterprise wants more support to protect the former pub. 

Since forming they have launched a community survey to help it understand how the wider community feels about The Plough. The results of the survey will be published on it’s website and parish council websites. 

When the residents group first applied for the former pub to be marked as a community asset, campaigner Alex Hall admitted they thought it was a “slam dunk”.  But Wiltshire Council rejected the bid, citing reasons Mr Hall does not agree with.

“The road from Kington St Michael to The Plough is 50mph speed limit, two lanes, and straight,” he told the LDRS. “Not narrow with no pavements like they said, which they could have found out without leaving their desks using things like google maps.”

Three times the council has refused the ACV bids – one in 2014 and two in 2021. 

This Is Wiltshire: Campaigners outside The PloughCampaigners outside The Plough

Cllr Phil Alford, cabinet member for housing and strategic assets said: “Each time the local authority receives an application, we must determine whether the land or building meets the definition of an asset of community value as set out in the Localism Act 2011. 

“In this case each application was assessed on an individual basis as to whether it met the criteria, in these three instances, there was not sufficient evidence and so the applications were rejected.

“Applications to list ACVs are received from community groups who do not own the assets. If an asset is listed, communities are given a period of six months to determine if they can raise the funds themselves to finance the purchase and submit a future bid.”

Mr Hall said  that the Kington Communities Enterprise is keen to save the historic pub which he said was run down by the previous owners the Wellington Pub Company. 

“Kington Langley now has no pub, no club, no shop, post office or anything more adventurous than a village hall,” he continued.

“It needs some local facilities and there has been a lot of local support for our campaign.”