East Devon District Council has agreed to the request from Save The Red Lion Campaign to list the Red Lion pub in Sidbury village, East Devon, as an Asset of Community Value under the 2012 Localism Act. The District Council’s important decision is a significant one for a rural community in East Devon.
This listing is only the second that the District Council has made and the Red Lion pub now joins around a hundred other pubs across the country which have been listed as Assets of Community Value by their local authorities. This reflects a growing demand by local communities to not only save their “locals” but also for communities to decide what sort of pub they want to have.
Fred Burnett, Save the Red Lion Campaign’s Chair, welcomed the decision saying “This is marvellous news! The fact that East Devon District Council has responded so positively and swiftly to Save The Red Lion Campaign’s request to have the pub listed as an asset of Community Value shows the importance that it attaches to the Campaign’s aim of retaining the pub at the heart of the village”.
The East Devon District Council’s decision is an important first step in Save The Red Lion Campaign’s objective of retaining the Red Lion, the only pub in the village, for the community. The pub’s owner, Punch Taverns put the pub up for sale five months ago. The Campaign was launched in May 2013 in response to the shock announcement that the Red Lion had been put up for sale.
The Campaign now has six weeks in which it has to decide whether it wants to be treated as a potential purchaser of the pub. If the Campaign decides to exercise its right to try to purchase the pub then it would have a total of six months during which to seek to conclude a successful deal. During both this time the pub’s owner cannot sell the pub to anyone other than the Campaign.
John Loudoun, the Campaign’s Secretary said “We are now starting the hard work of using expert advisers to assist us in developing a viable business plan for the pub
and we are looking at how we will be able to raise the necessary funding to purchase and upgrade the pub.”
Fred Burnett added “I am confident that if the business plan reflects the needs of the local community then local people will feel confident in investing in this potentially exciting venture. We hope that the pub’s owner Punch Taverns will now talk seriously to us about how we can successfully buy the pub for the community ”.
Local MP, the Right Honourable Hugo Swire, who is also a Patron of Save The Red Lion Campaign said of the decision “I very much welcome this exciting and unique decision by East Devon District Council.
I am very much in favour of the Red Lion being retained as a village pub. I wish the Campaign all the best in its attempts to buy the pub for the local community and to ensure that it has a successful long term future”.
“Pubs like the Red Lion are vitally important to keeping villages alive. I look forward to having my first pint what I hope will be the first community owned pub in East Devon”.