Campaigners rally in bid to save village pub

The former Spotted Cow pub on Town Street in Holbrook (Photo: Google).
The former Spotted Cow pub on Town Street in Holbrook (Photo: Google).

Residents of a Derbyshire village are rallying round to try to save what they regard as a much-loved community asset - its pub.

Earlier this year, an application was submitted to turn the Spotted Cow in Holbrook and its car park into housing, but many locals want to preserve it for community use.

After securing an ‘asset of community value’ (ACV) listing for the building in August, the newly formed Holbrook Community Society is now campaigning to turn the building into a ‘community-owned’ pub.

Campaign leader, Stephanie Limb, said: “Since the owner intends to sell the pub, ACV status gives a community group a right to bid for it.

“We have therefore registered our interest in bidding for the pub and buying it for the community.

“We have created a business plan and hope to offer shares, but we can only ask the community to invest if the change of use is turned down by the planning board.”

As well as maintaining the building as a pub and cafe, the society hopes to deliver other services that are either not currently available in the village or under threat, such as postal services.

Since the group began its campaign, the society say they have become aware of many other communities across the UK which have achieved similar things.

It is estimated that there are now 70 pubs purchased and co-operatively owned by local people in villages and towns around the country.

“This is not just about buying a pub,” said Stephanie.

“This is about preserving the history of our village and building a vision for the future.”

The change of use plans will go before Amber Valley Borough Council’s planning committee on November 14.

Developer Ian McNair said: “I am obviously frustrated that this renewed interest in the pub comes after years of neglect.

“I understand few locals used the pub when it was at the height of its profitability as it was a destination pub for diners.

“It then declined quickly as many other pubs have done and then was closed down due to environmental breaches.

“I have spent a considerable amount of money to get to this stage in the planning process and this seems to be over looked by some people.

“I am offering two, three and four-bed housing in a very sympathetic scheme which will blend into the local environment nicely.”

To find out more about the community group, visit www.holbrookcommunitysociety.co.uk.