Tuesday, 03 August 2021

Pub that villagers feared would close now set to expand

THE Horns pub in Crazies Hill is set to expand just a year after residents feared it might close.

Landlords Adam and Sandra Purdy want to build a rear extension to create a garden room that will allow more seating for people eating at the Brakspear pub.

The couple say the extension would maintain the viability of the business and safeguard the future of the building.

Wargrave Parish Council has supported their plans.

Councillor Philip Davies, who is a member of the Crazies Hill and Cockpole Green Residents’ Association, which meets at the pub, said: “There is a lot of feeling locally about retaining the pub, which is seen as an amenity. It’s just about the only meeting place in the community.

“The people running it have turned it around and one of the things about running a pub now is you need a lot of covers. You don’t make a lot of money selling alcohol.

“It makes sense for them to increase their ability to have lots of covers and this is a sensible way to do it.”

Chariman Richard Bush added: “I think it’s a viable business and they do work very hard there. As a centre to the village, it is needed and we did nearly lose it.”

Councillor Andrew Luckwell said: “The room at the back is very small. The site is such that a development of that size would not make it overbearing.” The Purdeys took over in July 2015 amid fears the pub would close permanently when former landlords John and Sarah Schlaefli left the business after just 18 months in charge. They were the seventh tenants in as many years.

In January last year, the parish council applied to have the pub registered as an asset of community value.

It said the Horns was the last remaining pub for Crazies Hill and Cockpole Green and served as a regular meeting place for community groups including the residents’ association, the village cricket team and ramblers and runners. But the application was turned down by Wokingham Borough Council, which said the pub “does not further the social wellbeing and interests of the local community”.

A decision on the planning application will be made by the borough council later this month.

A charity quiz held at the pub on February 25 raised more than £4,000. The event included a two-course meal and wine as well as a silent auction with prizes including tickets to Wimbledon Centre Court, a signed 2008 England rugby shirt, beer hampers and a brewery tour.

It was in aid of youth cricket charity Lord’s Taverners and the EY Foundation, which helps young people get into business.

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