Our recent Newsletter was the most successful we have ever released with over 600 views of the Blog we created on top of the supporters who receive a personal email. Thank you to those who took the time to read the Blog and the e-mailed Newsletter.
You may also be aware that we post the Blog on various local social media sites including our own Save The White Lion Facebook page.
With the authors permission we publish below 2 very incise comments which clearly demonstrate, in their words not ours, the issues driving the project to reopen the White Lion as a community pub or have it reopen on a sound commercial footing by others.
This is not about a pub closing because it cannot be made viable. In recent years we have seen a rush to buy pubs in the Chilterns by people looking to take advantage of much reduced planning laws and develop new houses on extensive and desirable plots in an A.O.N.B . This appears to be the case with the White Lion and many other pubs, including the Lamb at Satwell, not far from me. The Lamb was closed in 2012 after being purchased and the new owner changed the site to a car sales business without change of use permission and was then taken to court. Similarly the White Lion was re-purposed without consent. In both cases, tax payers’ money, presumably in the tens of thousands of pounds, was used to prosecute and fine the owners. For many years both these pubs have been allowed to decay. The Lamb has been boarded up for years but like the White Lion is a target for development. Their architect for new builds recently said that it would cost too much to make it a viable pub again. Probably not surprising after nearly 10 years of neglect! We need to stand up to these speculators and protect what is worth saving. Many pubs have gone that could never survive in a modern climate but that doesn’t mean we should allow all our heritage to disappear and allow wanton and lucrative development (for the owner) with little benefit to the local communities that we live in. Our planners need to stand firm and push back on these proposed developments, where if you read the recent history of both these pubs and the posturing that has gone on you would understand the game being played, apparently at the community’s expense.
Land with planning permission for houses is worth approx. 20 X Agricultural Land, and around 7 X Commercial land – there is ALWAYS money to be made developing ANY land for houses in South Oxfordshire. The problem is that EVERY piece of land could be developed for housing, leaving the villages with nothing (and the developers with their pockets full). Agreed the CO-OP in Woodcote would likely not be developed, but literally every other business in Woodcote, Crays Pond, Checkendon, Stoke Rowe, Nettlebed etc would be worth more as houses. This is why communities & planners need to stand up for the types of business that need to stay – in 20, 50 or 100 yrs time every pub / business that’s still open will be an asset to its community. What will not happen is new pubs opening in expensive villages – the land value is too high as housing…
We thank the authors for their clear appreciation of the issues facing so many villages and hamlets, threatened with losing their local amenities for the sake of a developers’ financial gain.
Once an amenity like the White Lion is gone it won’t be coming back.
We thank our supporters for their continued support and also those who have used our fundraising page to pledge further support.
We urge those in our councils, Parish, District, and County and our political representatives to support our efforts to bring The White Lion Crays Pond back to life.
The Crays Pond Community Group