said on 31 October, I've had recurring minor ailments that have made me feel generally under the weather since September. On the mend now, though.
I've just noticed an item in the Morning Advertiser that may well be a significant setback to CAMRA's strategy of campaigning for pubs to be granted Asset of Community Value (ACV) status. Woking Council has revoked the ACV status of the Star Inn in Wych Hill, Surrey, and has granted permission for it to be turned into a Co-op supermarket. They said that a local community group had failed to show that it had community value as a pub, citing an e-mail from one councillor that stated that the pub had deteriorated with licensees who "tended to cater to younger, rowdy, non-residents of the local area."
The residents said that they'd like the Star to become a gastropub as it was the only place that could provide food, drink and accommodation in the area, which - they added - was already well served by supermarkets. The council replied that another supermarket could also become a valued local asset.
So there you have it. While I know that no one has claimed that obtaining ACV status conclusively and permanently saves a pub, I do feel it may have been relied upon rather more than it merited; it is merely a tool in the process of saving a pub, not the final result. As with so many campaigning issues, it is a mistake to assume a success is permanently in the bag: you often have to fight for things over and over again.
The only other thought that occurs to me is that if the good people of Wych Hill had made greater use of the pub before it became at risk, perhaps it would not have come to this. Use them or lose them.
Ashburton Pop: What We Know
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