Villagers rally to save their last pub

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Hertfordshire: Villagers try saving the Plough King's Walden

Related tags Social responsibility Hertfordshire Admiral taverns

Villagers have come together to save the last pub in King’s Walden which has been labelled the “heart of the community”.

Admiral Taverns, which runs the Plough in Hertfordshire, submitted an application to convert the venue into a private property.

Resident Adam Nicoll formed a company to buy and run the venue on behalf of the local community but said the pub company had not responded to his requests.

He claimed the villagers have enough money to buy the pub.

Admiral Taverns said: “We had previously engaged with a local resident to maintain the site as a pub, but despite our efforts, discussions had not moved forward and therefore we took the decision to progress alternative uses for the property. We would be happy to engage with genuinely interested parties.”

As the pub is listed as an Asset of Community Value, local groups were given a period of time to register interest in buying the property.

'Overwhelming' support

Now landowners have applied for planning permission to convert the Grade II-listed pub into a four-bed private home.

A Facebook page called 'Save the Plough @Kings Walden' racked up almost 500 members in just 80 hours.

Speaking to The Morning Advertiser,​ Nicoll said the response from the community had been “overwhelming”. He added: “It’s odds are seemingly stacked in our favour by dint of public support”.

If the pub shuts its doors, residents will have to walk three kilometres down the road with no pavement or street lighting to their nearest pub, according to Nicoll.

Heart of the community

He said: “It’s very important to people’s mental health. 9m people in this country say they’re very lonely and want to connect more as a society, and where else do we do that but the pub.”

Admiral Taverns said it is a “strong believer” in the importance of community pubs and its focus is always on helping licensees to run sustainable pub businesses.

After careful consideration however, it felt in this instance that the Plough did not have a long-term sustainable future within its estate.

But Nicol believes the pub is viable as a business. He said it raises more than £7,000 a year for charity and runs dance matches and firework events.

“It’s the real heart of the community,” he said.

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