Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Village pub for sale again after six years

A PUB in Whitchurch is back on the market for the first time in six years.

Punch Taverns is offering the Greyhound in High Street at a price of £675,000 plus VAT.

This is £200,000 more than the asking price when it was sold in 2014.

The pub is being marketed by estate agent Fleurets, which says it is in an “affluent and desirable residential area in an accessible location”.

Unlike last time, it does not promote any potential for residential conversion of the five-bedroom property and warns that it is in the village’s conservation area.

The agency wrongly states that the pub has ceased trading and is closed.

In fact, landlord Mark Lovett says he will keep it open until a sale is agreed.

Mr Lovett has worked in the trade all his life but had not run a pub before he took over the Greyhound about three-and-a-half years ago.

He said the pub had traded well since then despite the coronavirus pandemic. It re-opened in July and was boosted by the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme last month.

Mr Lovett said: “Obviously in the event of a sale I’m pretty much out of here.

“I’ve never been busier since I re-opened and everyone’s saying they don’t want me to go but if this goes ahead I’m afraid it isn’t up to me.

“I’ve been told that I could look for another pub within Punch but otherwise my future would be up to the new buyer and they might want to run it themselves, though you never know.”

Punch put the Greyhound on the market as a “commercial decision” in 2014 following the departure of landlords Bob and Carole North but no buyer was found.

It was taken over by Ruan Keegan, who left in 2015. He was succeeded by Nick Baker but he resigned after a short time, saying he had been unable to turn a profit.

In 2016 the parish council applied to have the Greyhound listed as an asset of community value by South Oxfordshire District Council.

This would have meant that, if it was put on the market again, the community would have six months in which to put together a bid.

The parish council argued the pub could still be profitable and had only struggled due to poor management.

However, the district council rejected the application on the grounds that there is another pub, the Ferryboat, in the same street.

The parish council would now like to hear from any community groups or individuals who might be interested in running the pub. To make contact, email cllrdonahue.whitchurch

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