Save The Red Lion Campaign Patrons

  • Sidbury Community Enterprises' community share offer launched to buy the Red Lion
  • Save The Red Lion Campaign Patrons - Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP & The Reverend Susie Williams
  • Campaign's company - Sidbury Community Enterprises - has made an offer to buy the Red Lion
  • East Devon District Council has listed the Red Lion pub as an Asset of Community Value - a significant Campaign milestone

Monday, 20 May 2013

Packed Sidbury village residents meeting launches Campaign Group

Yesterday's packed meeting of Sidbury village residents held in the skittle alley of the Red Lion pub heard genuine concerns expressed by many that the sale of the pub could lead to the closure of the only pub in the village. There was an overall view expressed that the pub could be an exciting & successful business opportunity that could ensure the Red Lion remained at the heart of the village.

There were over 50 residents who filled the skittle alley. This was quite a remarkable turnout given that the sale of the pub was unknown a month ago and it was only a fortnight ago that a few pub "regulars" decided to call the meeting. Those who attended yesterday represented a broad cross section of villagers, many of whom are already part of one local activity group or another within village life. The key decision taken at the meeting was to form a Campaign Group.

We were also aware from those who had sent their apologies that there were many others who wanted to be at the meeting & to show their support for a Campaign but who were unable to do so due to other commitments. It really would have been standing room only if they had all been able to come along!

The meeting discussed the possible options that could arise out of the pub being put up for sale. These included concerns that given the owners, Punch Taverns, dire financial problems it could find itself without a buyer and the village could find itself with a pub that becomes another closed & unused property like so many that blight the landscape of many towns & villages these days.

At the other end of the spectrum there was real enthusiasm to ensure that a buyer was found who was willing to invest in the property & to invest in growing the business that could be generated by the pub. It was recognised that such a buyer could indeed be a single, or group of purchasers, who saw the pub as an exciting opportunity to give the Red Lion its roar back.

The meeting was also concerned that a buyer might step forward with the intention of seeking to change the use of the pub from being that to another use. This caused significant concern to those present and the required 21 signatures of local electors were obtained so that, if required, the Campaign Group could seek to have the pub listed as an “asset of community value” under the Community Right to Bid (CRB) legislation. Follow the link for more detail on the CRB http://mycommunityrights.org.uk/community-right-to-bid/. This was a significant step which could pave the way for the community possibly seeking to take control of the pub’s destiny.
It was agreed by all present that a Campaign Group needed to be formed & the following resolution was passed:

We agree to establish a Campaign Group with the objective of ensuring that the Red Lion, Sidbury is retained as a pub for the community.

To support this campaign we agree to create a Steering Group which is charged with fulfilling this objective.

We encourage all those who share the Campaign’s objective to join us.

The meeting elected a Steering Group, which includes residents who have a range of skills & experience, but all with the underlying enthusiasm that was broadly demonstrated yesterday, that will be useful in looking at the actions that need to now be undertaken just in case a buyer who wants to develop the pub’s business doesn’t come forward. The details of the Steering Group membership will be published soon.

The Steering Group will need to immediately look at key issues such as what planning objections can be mustered to block a potential change of use application, whether the community can or should develop a meaningful business plan for the pub & whether, and when, the Campaign Group might need to exercise its demand of East Devon District Council that it list the pub as an “asset of community value”. We have to ability to do this if needed!

The meeting, having formally established The Pub in the Village – Save The Red Lion Campaign Group, now has over 60 supporters, but we cannot stop here we need to get maximum local support for the campaign. Ask your family, friends or neighbours to become a Campaign supporter by sending their email details to thepubinthevillage@gmail.com. We hope to get a supporters form on-line soon, but don’t wait give them the email address today!