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Craufurd family lends support to bid to save pub

Stephen Delahunty

Stephen Delahunty

Lord and Lady Craufurd have thrown their support behind the campaign to save the pub that bears their name.

The Craufurd Arms Society Ltd (CASL) was set up by local residents and regulars in a bid to take the Craufurd Arms, in Gringer Hill, into community ownership.

The group quickly exceeded its fundraising target and has since submitted a bid that is ‘substantially over’ the owner Wellington Pub Company’s £325,000 asking price, according to chairman Mark Newcombe.

However it is understood the group faces competition to buy the pub from several other developers whose plans for the pub are unknown.

Mark said: “Members and residents have been sending emails and messages to the owners hoping we can appeal to their altruistic side.”

Meanwhile Lord and Lady Craufurd, from Lymington, Hampshire, whose ancestors have long ties to the area have pledged their support after learning about the campaign.

Lord Craufurd said: “I think Mark is doing a great job and I think it’s important for the community. I’m greatly encouraged they got the money together. If you take something like this out of the community people often go more introspective.

“We would be delighted to visit if the bid is successful.”

Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield), Royal Borough cabinet member for planning, has confirmed he is working on a report called ‘Public House Article 4 directions’ that could potentially save any more pubs from closing in the future.

The report is to assess whether the Royal Borough could put a blanket order on all public houses to make it more difficult for developers in the future to change the use of existing buildings.

He said: “We know some boroughs in London have gone down this route, so the aim of the report is to see if it is suitable for us.”

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