Public meeting to discuss future of Richmondshire pub

The Stanwick. Photo: Janet Hall.

A public meeting will be held next week to discuss the future of a Richmondshire pub following its closure.

Villagers in Aldbrough St John were horrified when their popular pub, the Stanwick – still known as the Stanwick Arms by many – closed in October with no information on a new tenant to take it over.

Since then it has stood empty and village celebrations which formerly took place there have fallen by the wayside in the absence of a real alternative. It is now for sale, with rumours abounding of plans to develop the site for housing.

Recently the building was registered with the Richmondshire District Council as an Asset of Community Value and a moratorium has been put on its sale to give the local community breathing space to consider potential options for its future including possible development as a community pub.

The Aldbrough St John parish council has called a public meeting on Monday March 11 at 7.30pm in the village hall at which the feelings of the local population can be assessed.

Chairman of the parish council, John Gill said: “We aren’t recommending any particular course of action but we need to see what the people in the village want to do.

“If there is someone interested in buying and running it, we’d support that. If a community group wants to set up and bid for it that’s fine too, though there is a lot of work involved and a limited time scale in which to get the plans put together.”

The Stanwick was a popular pub and eating place for many years, not only with people in Aldbrough but with a much wider clientele.

Village resident Peter Fenwick, owner of micro-brewery Mithril Ales whose beers were a regular feature in the bars at The Stanwick said: “It’s important for the village to restore the pub, as it leaves only the church as a community facility. It was the place where everyone could meet and was very much the hub of the community.”

The Stanwick Arms was built in the late nineteenth century to replace three other pubs in the village, by Eleanor, Dowager Duchess of Northumberland, who lived at Stanwick Hall from 1865 to 1911.

The drinking men, the duchess felt, were not giving her or the Sabbath day their due deference when they failed to stop drinking and doff their hats as she drove past in her carriage one Sunday.

The Stanwick Arms, naturally, was not permitted to open for business on Sundays and did not do so until after WW2.

Although things changed gradually over the years, it remained a popular and largely traditional country pub and its supporters hope that it can be restored to that role in its community.