New steering group launched

Following a friends and supporters gathering at Hamstead Marshall village hall on 14 May, the ‘Save the White Hart Inn Campaign’ enters the next phase of our quest to ensure the pub remains a pub.

At the meeting there were presentations by Anne Budd, Peter Chaffey, Kathrin Luddecke (Plunkett Foundation www.plunkett.co.uk), Graham Shelton (Red Lion, Northmoor community pub) and Chris French (The Plough, West Hanney community pub).
The Plunkett Foundation is leading ‘More Than a Pub: The Community Pub Business Support Programme’ offering loans and grants.

At the close, there was strong support from those present and some that couldn’t make the meeting, for setting up a new group (Save The White Hart Community Enterprise Committee) to handle the development stages of producing a business plan and raising funds to acquire an interest in the land known as the White Hart Inn Hamstead Marshall. The new team will also explore the helping of other parties to do so also, so that the Inn may once again be run as a working Public House.

The team will continue to address and resist any appeal, should there be one, against the refusal of the West Berks Council to grant planning permission for a change of use, unless the leasehold and the freehold have been offered for sale on the open market on reasonable terms at a reasonable price and for a reasonable length of time.

An invitation to supporters of saving the White Hart Inn

Please join us at
Hamstead Marshall Village Hall
Saturday, May 14th, 2016 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Tea/Coffee and Cake Provided

On Wednesday, April 20, 2016 the Western Area Planning Committee of West Berkshire Council refused the ‘Change of Use’ application submitted by the owner of the White Hart Inn on the recommendation of the Planning Department. The owner is entitled to re-submit the application within a six month timeframe of the April 20th date.
We now have only six months to set up and implement a community enterprise scheme. If we fail then, after this period, the planning department have indicated the change of use would more than likely be granted.
If the majority view of the village is for the White Hart Inn to re-open as a fully functioning pub, it is up to us as a community to come together and acquire the leasehold with an upfront financial investment of the leasehold premium and then the annual rent. There will also be other ongoing costs to set up the business, including legal, financial transactions and the cost of general pub and hotel supplies.

The first action is to hold this event to engage with supporters, to present and discuss the options for moving forward.

Secondly and critically, if the community project is to proceed at all, we need to form a steering group who will take on the responsibility of developing a business plan and raising the necessary financial and management infrastructure in order to take on the White Hart Inn.

We urge you to become involved in the steering group, particularly if you have business development and management skills.

Please contact us.

At the May 14th event, specific detailed information will be available with regard to skills and experience requirements.