Richmondshire community draws up plans take on much-loved pub

The Stanwick. Photo: Janet Hall.

Residents are drawing up plans to take over their village pub.

Villagers in Aldbrough St John were devastated when the The Stanwick, previously The Stanwick Arms, closed last October.

Since then rumours have circulated about its possible fate but now matters are in hand that will, hopefully, ensure its preservation as both a pub and a restaurant.

At the end of last year it was registered as an asset of community value giving the local community an opportunity to be involved in future plans, and a degree of priority with regard to its future sale.

At a village public meeting in March attended by almost 100 people, the decision was that residents wanted to start the procedures necessary for a community buy-out, but would be willing to withdraw should a realistic buyer come forward with an offer to the present owners.

Subsequently, a smaller group with useful skills and knowledge to contribute has met under the chairmanship of Chris Dickinson, a near neighbour of The Stanwick.

Village resident Bernie Whitfield also offered his experience in managing the sale of similar businesses to make the necessary enquiries, and his investigations have established a realistic line to follow for a community purchase.

Before finally going ahead with such a scheme there will need to be more consultations of the wider community involving, if possible, some of the many regular users of The Stanwick from elsewhere in addition to Aldbrough residents.

In the near future there are plans to hold a survey which will also be available for people from outside the village to complete.

One function of this survey will be to find out if there is not only the wish but also the financial commitment available to make a community purchase a realistic proposition.

Another step to take will be for the people of the village to elect a small management committee, and give them the authority to take the necessary decisions for the purchase, refurbishment and leasing of the building to a suitable tenant.

Before that can be done there are several other investigations that need to be made and Mr Whitfield left the most recent meeting on April 17 with a list of questions to which answers are needed before the next steps can be taken.

Following that meeting, Mr Dickinson said: “This has brought out the unity and emotion of this village. The Stanwick pub and restaurant has been an important centre over many years.

“It has always had a great following and been popular far beyond the confines of the village; it has had a great history and central role in our community, which we wish to see continued.

“We are determined that our only pub remains as an attraction to and for the village, a centre for the community and a vibrant hub that delivers a service on many levels. Our clear intention is for the Stanwick to remain as a viable pub whether in private ownership or as a community institution.

“We would ask that the many supporters of the Stanwick join our initiative to purchase it as a community enterprise if a private buyer cannot be identified. Please help us save one of those uniquely British institutions, our village pub.”

Although their well-loved pub will be closed for longer that they had hoped, there is the determination within the village to see it re-opened and in an updated and improved condition in the foreseeable future