Northamptonshire villagers given month to bid for ‘community asset’ pub

Northamptonshire villagers given month to bid for ‘community asset’ pub

Villagers wanting to put in a bid to potentially buy their historic and much-loved local will have until early next month to save the community ‘asset’.

In January 2020, Sudborough Parish Council successfully nominated the Grade II-listed Vane Arms as a ‘listed asset of community value’.

The status was sought after fears that the pub may be sold off and lost as a social and meeting place, residents wanted to protect the ancient hostelry.

Sudborough The Vane Arms public house

But now its owners – Everards Brewery Limited – have given notice to North Northants Council of their intention ‘to undertake a relevant disposal of the building’.

With listed asset of community value status, eligible groups will be able to bid for the pub, but the owner is under no obligation to accept the bid and is free to dispose of the pub to whoever they wish.

Sudborough Parish Council had argued that the Vane Arms added to the ‘wellbeing of the community’ not provided by any other asset nearby.

In 2020 a paper to the then East Northants District Council said: “There must be something special about the asset to warrant it being listed. If there are a number of such assets which provide similar facilities then the nomination should fail. As already stated, The Vane Arms is the only public house in the village and as the focus of the social interest and social wellbeing criteria is on the local community I’m satisfied that this, along with all the above (background information), is evidence of recent non ancillary community use which furthers the social well-being and social interest of the local community.”

Sudborough, The Vane Arms

The pub had undergone extensive refurbishment but had passed through several different managers and landlords in the past few years.

Activities taking place at the pub had included a book club, committee meetings, village events, school PTA meetings and dinners held by church volunteers. The next nearest pub is The Snooty Fox in Lowick.

Villagers have until Tuesday, October 4, 2022 to request to be treated as potential bidders for the pub.

If an eligible request is received, a full six-month moratorium on the disposal will be triggered, expiring on February 23, 2023.

Groups with a local connection eligible to bid could be a company limited by guarantee, an industrial or provident society, a community interest group, or any other body registered as a charity.

If no eligible community interest bids, then the pub can be disposed of with no further protection until February 23, 2024 – 18 months after the initial notice.

Anyone wishing to be considered as a bidder should make a request in writing to The Head of Asset Management, Property Services, Corby Innovation Hub, Bangrave Road South, Corby, Northants NN17 1NN or email [email protected] by Tuesday, October 4, 2022.

Sudborough Parish Council will meet Wednesday, September 28, at the Francis Giffen Memorial Hall at 7.30pm where the pub will be discussed.

The Vane Arms’ historical connection

In the Second World War, the thatched pub became popular with American aircrews based in nearby Grafton Underwood. After enjoying a pint in the lounge crewmen would place a coin halfway into the gaps in the wooden mantlepiece before leaving on missions. If they failed to return to reclaim their penny, their coin was flattened and left as a moving memorial to their sacrifice.

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