Villagers’ victory as pub’s status as asset is upheld
Judge tells court he does not accept re-opening as community pub is ‘unfeasible’
A COMMUNITY’S hopes of resurrecting a historic former village pub have been boosted after its status as a ‘community asset’ was confirmed by a judge.
The Pheasant Inn, in Ballinger, operated from the mid-19th century, but falling numbers led to its doors closing for the final time in 2008.
Its owner, pensioner Jane King, had attempted to run it partly as an up-market restaurant, but her business plans failed.
She now wants to sell up and move out of the village, where she continues to live in the former pub building.
However, community members in Ballinger, a settlement of 300 people near Great Missenden, want to return it to its original state.
After an application, Chiltern District Council designated the pub as an “asset of community value” in 2013, giving it extra protection from development.
But Mrs King tried to overturn the listing.
She has seen now her case rejected by Judge Anthony Snelson at the First-Tier Tribunal.
In a ruling made in late July, but only now published, Judge Snelson said there was a chance the pub could re-open in the future – given the Ballinger Community Group’s efforts.
The group behind the campaign contains business-savvy people, who had made two realistic offers to buy in the past, he said.
“I do not accept that the idea of re-opening the Pheasant as a community pub is unfeasible,” he continued.
“Rural pubs certainly face difficult trading conditions, but some succeed.
“The extent to which the local community is behind a rescue is likely to be a crucial factor. There is evidence of strong backing in the village for BCG’s plans.
“Moreover, the group includes hard-headed people with commercial and professional backgrounds and is clearly not fuelled by sentiment alone.
“The offers already made are testament to the fact that it has the means of raising a sub- stantial sum.”
He rejected Mrs King’s bid for a review of the pub’s listing as a community asset.
The community asset status means community groups must be given the chance to buy and re-open it if it is put up for sale.
There is evidence of strong backing in the village