Pentlow pub’s future in jeopardy as owner seeks removal of asset of value status
The owner of a pub says he will be launching an appeal to remove it as an asset of community value, following its continued failure to succeed as a viable business.
The Pinkuah Arms in Pentlow stopped trading in December.
Owner Billy Bird brought the property at an auction around five years ago, after successfully outbidding a community group which wanted to take it over.
Soon after the purchase, the pub was listed as an asset of community value (ACV) – a status that was renewed last month, despite Mr Bird’s request to have it removed.
He said the pub had changed hands too frequently over the past five years due to a lack of business, meaning tenants could not cover the rent.
“It’s not attracting enough customers,” said Mr Bird, who had other uses in mind for the site.
“I didn’t buy it to turn it into a pub, but they stopped that.”
He has raised concerns over the ACV, which means the business must be used as a pub, and now feels a moral obligation to future tenants who may suffer the same fate as their predecessors.
“It’s not right that I let someone – on a false hope – lose their savings,” he said. “I have a conscience.”
The last tenants, John and Jo Wilsdon, took over the pub in June, but Mr Bird said not enough villagers had used it to make it a viable business.
Fencing was installed around the site on Friday to prevent it being broken into while it remains vacant.
Mr Bird said he will be meeting a solicitor to discuss launching an appeal to have the ACV status removed.
Melanie Davies, chairman of Pentlow Parish Council, said the business had “lacked consistency” over the last few months.
She said the previous tenants had only served food for a short period, and there were some days when villagers were given no notice that it was closed.
“We would go down there at 9pm and it would be shut,” she said.
Mrs Davies criticised the cost of the rent, which she believes is too high for a business to pay before it has become established.
“The rent is not commensurate to a pub which needs to build up its trade, build up a reputation and have consistency,” she said.
She said the community had been supportive of the business and up to 40 people had attended a pub quiz last year, which she said was a good turnout given that the village’s population only numbers 200.
Mrs Davies said that, for the business to become viable, it needed to strike a balance by offering food and events with a “village pub environment”.