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Thread: Who should decide if a pub stays or goes?

  1. #41
    Former Pubs Galore Coder
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    In a thread where we have compared hospitals to pubs I feel my exaggeration is a modest one.

    I still think a fairer analogy however would be if you walked up to me and pointed at a youth walking down the street and told me to phone the police. Where is the evidence of a crime in this?

    There seems a real aversion in the replies to tell me what was done wrong, no shortage of innuendo though. To my mind giving up on a business that can't work isn't a crime. I am working from a position of presumption of innocence here, would be nice to know others still believed in that right.

    And whilst comparisons to violence might seem unfair. If I was in a situation where I was haemorrhaging money, and upon trying to solve it I discovered that rumours and innuendo were being spread that might jeopardise my latest attempt to get into a situation where I was in control of my own destiny again - I know I would feel like it was a bloody big kick in the bollocks from those people.

  2. #42
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    I too would like to see the evidence for the viability of the pub and the alledged overpricing of the business but I don't think we'll see that until the application is heard. Herefordshire CAMRA acknowledges that this man's business has failed, it also believes that someone else can make a better job of it as a pub and would like to see that avenue fully explored as it believes this hasn't happened, nothing wrong in that view is there?

    This is just an objection to a planning application after all.

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  3. #43
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    Nothing wrong with having a view at all.

    There is something very wrong with accusing people of things and asking others to act on it without being willing to provide evidence.

  4. #44
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    As far as I can see all he's been "accused of" is having a failed business, which appears to be true and unchallenged by anyone; and like lots of others trying to gain the best price for an asset, nothing really wrong in that and it should be easily proved or disproved without CAMRA's evidence.

    It is the job of consumer organisations to ask their members to object to something the organisation has a policy against, the members don't actually have to respond if they don't agree or don't think the case has merit. The planning department will dismiss objections that don't stand up, that's their job.

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  5. #45
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    What CAMRA policy has been broken?
    (Don't point me at the document again, tell me what part of that document merited the mail they sent out).

    Where is the evidence so that I can decide whether or not the case has merit?

    Where in CAMRA's original text did it suggest you don't actually have to respond?

  6. #46
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad View Post
    What CAMRA policy has been broken?
    (Don't point me at the document again, tell me what part of that document merited the mail they sent out).
    Well it's a policy not a CAMRA "law" so I don't think it can be broken. It's not in the Pub Viability Test document, which is a specific tool, but section 14 of CAMRA's External policy document is dedicated to Pub Preservation, section 14.6 is the most relevant to this but it's not in the public domain so I can't quote from it. The details of the Save Our Pubs campaign are found here, but there are a lot of documents and are mainly about how to campaign. The Detailed Guidance link in Campaigning to Save a Pub shows the way to object, the bit about letters is in the Planning Application Detailed Guidance link in the section below it:

    "1.12
    Your main method of submitting your comments on the application will be to write a letter to the Chief Planning Officer. Most Councils will also accept comments by email. Always mention the address of the property, and what is being proposed; also include in your letter the Council’s application reference number. If your comments are submitted in time, they will be fully considered when the decision is made. Most applications these days are delegated to senior planning officers, but under some circumstances (for instance, a very controversial application) the decision may be made by a planning committee.
    1.13
    The more people who write, the more notice may be taken of what you say, although you should write your own individual letter and not sign photocopies of the same text. Petitions are of limited value if a lot of people who have signed obviously live a long way away."

    So the letter sent out was to raise awareness and follow the advice in 1.13. Section 1.5 in the Detailed Guidance link - Campaigning to Save a Pub may also explain CAMRA Herefordshire's actions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad View Post
    Where is the evidence so that I can decide whether or not the case has merit?
    The starting point would be to compare the details here with similar properties on sites of pub agents like Sidney Phillips or Fleurets. I don't think the asking price is more than 20% above what looks a market value. You could check out Trip Advisor to see if that adds up (50-50 in my opinion if you read the reviews and don't just look at the scores). Other review sites are available

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad View Post
    Where in CAMRA's original text did it suggest you don't actually have to respond?
    "If there was only ever going to be one time in your life that you were
    prepared to write a letter (or e-mail) to the Council planners then this
    should be it. "

    This looks optional to me.

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  7. #47
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    Ok, this is actually going to be my last post in this thread because it is actually pissing me off.

    Let me draw up a purely hypothetical situation, this is completely made up, and any similarities to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

    ----------------------------------------------

    Some pub loving soul buys up an inn over 10 years ago, it is a decent plot where he is going to live and do his job, it costs a lot of money so he knows it is a risk as he mortgages himself in as far as he can, but he has a business plan and knows he can make a go of it.

    Sometime later in 2001 he feels unable to run with it, maybe it is a family issue, maybe it is just becoming too much work, maybe even he is just testing the water, but it is a profitable business so he knows he is doing something right. So he puts his home and business on the market for £550k. Sadly no one shares the dream he did when he set it up - so eventually he just decides he should go on with it.

    Some years later and during this time the business has turned from profit to loss, he has tried all he can think of and even followed the advice of a local pressure group that tried to help (let’s call them VID-E-O). Despite all this though he is losing money; what with staff costs and the increased need for staff as he is becoming to unfit to do all the work required, fuel bills have gone up, and everyone seems to go abroad for their hols. Anyway, he is losing tens of thousands of pounds a year, but it is still a running business, and he lives in it, and at least house prices have doubled in the last 10 years, so the bank is willing to extend his loans. But it has gotten to the point that he needs to sell it, he knows he can’t turn it around and it would be better for him to cash in and live somewhere with less stresses.

    So on the market it goes for a perfectly fair amount, I mean it is still a house, his house in fact. But no one buys it, so he reduces it and reduces it until it gets to £750k, somewhat less than the doubling of prices you might expect for house value, but hey, the business needs a little bit of work now. He can’t take it any lower though, because he needs to pay off the debts, and be able to live wherever he moves to. And for goodness sakes, if that inn is viable it is worth that.

    Sadly no one buys, so desperate to stop adding to his debt, and give himself a chance in retirement he comes up with plan B, if he can convert his large Inn to residential he can make more than enough money to sort things out. So whilst he loves pubs, he thinks to hell with it, I need the money, I need to get out of here, and if anyone else loved pubs surely they would have bought it, it is a fair price. So planning for conversion goes in.

    His local villagers are a mixture of supportive and not - so the 50% who did regularly come into his Inn lodge complaints (both of them). Fair enough he thinks I would do that. Then the local VID-E-O group who he had listened to sent out a letter to a 1000 local followers, of which a 100 send in complaints (he only wishes he has sold that many pints in the last month). And the planning he put in is rejected, he doesn’t know why really, but he wonders why he was VID-E-O’d.

    Fast forward 2 years. His lovely Inn is closed, the bank owns it but doesn’t know what to do with it as the roof begins to rot away. The man who this story is about is bankrupt and happily or otherwise living off state benefits. But the pub was saved (Yay another glorious win for VID-E-O).

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Now look, this is all clearly b*****t, and I apologise sincerely for where I collided with the truth. And whilst I don’t believe a word of what I just wrote I believe it as much as anything else that has been written in this thread.

    It is important to me to know why I am doing things, or why I am being asked to do things, I think it serves no purpose to blindly sh*t on people.

    And here is a final kicker question, assume for a second that story was true. Who in their right mind would buy a country pub?

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad View Post
    And here is a final kicker question, assume for a second that story was true. Who in their right mind would buy a country pub?


    Although I wouldn't touch any pub with a really long stick that doesn't have a minimum of 3 dozen houses and a couple of shops within 'walking' distance
    *insert something clever/humorous/interesting here*

  9. #49
    Old & Bitter oldboots's Avatar
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    Ed, I read your blog but it wouldn't let me post a comment otherwise I'd have said this there rather than here.

    Some things bother me about this, 10 years without making a profit, I wonder how he funds that? I would have thought bankruptcy would have occured after about three years of no profit in a small business. Surely his bank would have given up by then?

    Have property prices varied that much in Herefordshire and why would someone be willing to sell a million pound business for £350k?

    Tell us, now, how and when
    We may find the bravest men?
    A sure test, an easy test:
    Those that drink beer are the best

  10. #50
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    The 100 people in Conrad's hypothetical example would be perfectly capable of keeping the pub open, if only they could bring themselves to drink in it, instead of writing letters about it.
    'Immanuel Kant was a real pissant who was very rarely stable' - Python

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