Friday, 21 September 2018

We must save pubs, says real ale campaigner

THE new chairman of the South Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale says he wants to stop pubs from closing.

THE new chairman of the South Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale says he wants to stop pubs from closing.

David Cooper, 69, is one of more than 370 members of the branch, which covers an area including Henley, Goring, Watlington and Benson with 120 pubs.

He said: ?I think the biggest problem we have got in our area is pub closures.

?Research shows that communities who have got a local pub are much more vibrant than ones that haven?t. A village pub really is the heart of the community.?

He has been the branch?s pub protection officer for two years and involved in campaigns to save the White Lion at Crays Pond, the Rose and Crown in Henley and the Crown at Nuffield. He opposed planning applications for changes of use and submitted appeals.

Mr Cooper, of Benson Road, Ewelme, joined the branch 12 years ago and founded its magazine, SoxonAle, which is available free in pubs.

He said: ?I?d certainly like to grow the membership, which has been fairly static for a while.

?Camra has now grown to 175,000 members and is the most successful consumer organisation in the country.

?In the Seventies it was responsible for rescuing real beer from the grip of the large brewers, who destroyed many small breweries along with their beers and replaced them with anonymous fizzy keg. Now there are 1,400 independent breweries in Britain, including several excellent ones in South Oxfordshire. The area also has many wonderful pubs.?

His own local, the Shepherd?s Hut, which is owned by Greene King, re-opened this month under a new landlord Gary Flux.

Mr Flux, 40, of Horseshoes Lane, Benson, has 18 years? experience in the hospitality industry.

The pub was closed for a week while it was refurbished and has a new chef and menu.

Mr Flux, who was an assistant air traffic controller in the RAF for seven years, said: ?I?m keeping with the theme of real ales. I know we have got a good name for our ales and I want a big push on that.?

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