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Save the Somerset Pub
The Somerset in Marston Road closed in 2014 and there is now a proposal by a charitable trust to convert it to a cafe and community hub. A local community group got the pub listed as an ACV in 2016 and is campaigning to get it reopened as a pub.
PRESS RELEASE from the Save Our Somerset Campaign Group 8th March 2018
The Save Our Somerset group in Marston is campaigning to see the Somerset House pub re-open as a thriving pub serving the local area. Pub companies are keen to set up business on the site, and there is considerable public support for the Somerset to re-open as a community pub where people can eat, drink, and socialise. The Somerset has been closed since 2014 and is under threat of being lost for good.
The Somerset is the last remaining pub in New Marston; seven other local pubs have been lost and converted to residential buildings in the last few years. Since the Somerset closed there have been no apparent efforts to re-open for business. In January this year, the current owner put the leasehold on the market for the first time. Despite offers from pub businesses who want it to re-open as a pub (the Save Our Somerset campaign group is aware of at least three pub companies who have made offers on the lease and want to re-open the Somerset as a pub), the owner is offering the lease to an organisation that proposes to use the premises for an educational centre and cafe and has turned all of these offers down.
Since it began its campaign in 2014, the Save Our Somerset group has received enthusiastic support from members of the local community and throughout Oxford. Last year, the campaign group held two busy and successful “pop-up-pub” events. Over 200 people braved the December snow to come and socialise, eat, drink, and listen to live music. The Save Our Somerset online petition has received more than 650 signatures, and over 200 local residents are part of an online forum where news about the campaign is shared. Community support for the Somerset to re-open as a pub remains strong and continues to grow.
Planning consultant, Dale Ingram, remarks “Thanks to changes in planning legislation in May 2017 governing ‘permitted development’, pubs like the Somerset cannot be used for any purposes, that do not include a pub, without planning permission, which will only be granted if it can be properly demonstrated that running the premises as a pub is no longer viable. There is clear evidence to present to Oxford’s planners that pub companies and the local community alike believe that, in the right hands, the Somerset could be a flourishing local pub once again. It will, therefore, be impossible for any planning applicant to prove that the pub use is unviable.”
18 March 2016
Cask v Keg What you need to know
Here is a very good article from the Spring 2016 edition of ‘Pints West’, the magazine of the Bristol & District Branch of CAMRA. It summarises the issues, different sorts of keg, and gives CAMRAs (current) position. What do you think? Send us your comments.