Going, Going, ?
The last pint at the Auctioneers Arms was pulled on Saturday 20th of August 2016. The owners of the pub Enterprise Inns sold the premises at an auction. The purchaser was White Acre Estates Ltd who then prepared plans to develop the site for housing. They submitted an application to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council on the 7th of September 2016 to demolish the pub and clear the site.
A number of local residents and customers are very disapointed about the closure of the Auctioneers Arms, locally known as ‘The Knocks’. The pub has been at the centre of the community at Cookshill for over 100 years. The matter was raised at a meeting of the Parish Council on the 5th of September. The supporters are hopeful that they can save the pub and they went on to form a Community Society. They were also successful with an application to get the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) on the 19th of September 2016.
The Community Asset listing had an immediate effect. It created a six month period during which White Acre Estates could not sell or demolish the Auctioneers Arms. This provided the Community Society with a time window to get organised and raise the funds so that they can make an offer to purchase the pub. Shortly after the pub was made an Asset of Community Value White Acre Estates decided to put the pub back on the market and a For Sale sign was attached to the building. The six month moratorium period ended on the 21st of March 2017 and shortly afterwards the For Sale sign was taken down.
The end of the six month period meant that since the 21st of March 2017 White Acre Estates have been free to sell the pub to the Caverswall Community Society or to someone else. They also have the option to simply decide not to sell the premises at the present time. If White Acre Estates or the next owner want to develop the site involving a ‘change of use’ they will have to make an application to the SMDC for Planning Permission.
The success or failure of these projects is not just about the money or the levels of enthusiasm or apathy within the local area. The present owner of the pub does not have to sell it to the Caverswall Community Society or to anyone else. This has happened with other ‘Save The Pub’ campaigns around the country. A recent example is the The King Arms at Heaton, see the story here that was reported in the local newspaper.
So could the Planners save the Knocks ? Well each case is judged on its own merits but to see the decision made by the SMDC on the fate of a pub in Leek read this news story published by the Leek Post & Times on the 1st of April 2017.
On the 21st of April the Caverswall Community Society launched their Share Offer giving everyone an exciting opportunity to pledge some money and become a part owner of the pub, providing that they can persuade White Acre Estates to sell it to them. This could turn out to be the last and only chance to save the Auctioneers Arms and the clock is ticking. So if you would like to get involved visit the Caverswall Community Society website without delay. You can also click here to go directly to their Crowdfunder website.
Update 26th May 2017 :
Additional pledges have been made in the 5th week of the campaign bringing the total amount pledged so far to 15% of the target. There are now 7 days remaining before the crowdfunding campaign closes.
Two weeks ago the Community Society have received some encouraging news from the Big Society Capital, an independant financial organisation. If the local fundraising can achieve £100K then Big Society Capital will consider offering a match-funding loan of £100K.
Update 21st April 2017 :
Update 8th April 2017 :
Update 24th October 2016 :
The residents association have organised a public meeting on the 15th of November at 8pm and they have also produced a Flyer which will be circulated to addresses in the local area. The flyer includes a copy of their on-line survey which can be printed out. Click here to see a copy of the Flyer.
UPDATE 21st October 2016 :
Have Your Say ! On-Line Survey.
White Acre Estates Ltd have decided to put the pub back on the market and the Caverswall and Cookshill Residents Association see this as a potential opportunity to create a community pub. They have organised an on-line survey to find out what services people would like to see the pub provide and to gauge the level of support. Click here to take part in the survey, all replies are anonymous but you can leave your contact details if you want to.
UPDATE 27th September 2016 :
The District Council have now registered the pub as a Community Asset. The Council has also placed a notification on their website stating that the applicant has withdrawn the initial application to demolish the building. The matter has been placed on the agenda at the next meeting of the Parish Council on the 3rd of October. The meeting will take place at 7.30 pm at the Village Hall and members of the public are welcome to attend. (Click here to see a copy of the minutes of that meeting.)