Hello to all our supporters and others Interested in the future of the White Lion Crays Pond as a Community Pub with so much more.
As we have not been in touch recently here are some points as to where we are.
We sent a further written offer to purchase the White Lion property to the Owner.
Here we are some weeks later and we have had no response.
So again we can gather from that he is just biding his time to wait out the ACV (asset of community value) restriction applying to the property and then trying again for residential use to build houses on the site. This is something we, and you, have been against since the group and the supporters objected to the initial proposals back in 2014.
We remain committed to objecting to the use of the site for residential development to the detriment of having a Community owned Pub/ Café/ Restaurant/ Centre on the site.
The good news regarding holding back residential development is that our District Councillor, Peter Dragonetti did, some time ago get South Oxford District Council to pass a motion to support local pubs in the whole district. If a residential planning application for a Pub site does get submitted, while the planning decision has to comply with national and local planning policy, this motion can carry some weight in the event of an Appeal. The Local Plan Policy is already in favour of supporting community assets, but there are of course conditions that apply in different circumstances.
A recent planning application to redevelop a pub in West Hagbourne near Didcot was refused by the South Oxfordshire District Planning Committee. In this case, there was not even an ACV nomination in place.
Once again our thanks to Peter Dragonetti for being such a stalwart supporter of local Pubs in general and The White Lion in particular
This position by SODC is good news for our project as the Owners plan to wait out the ACV and then reapply for residential use will face considerable hurdles.
We can also report that The Crown at Nuffield, once a Brakspear owned pub, has also reopened as a Community orientated café and craft centre, as SODC resisted attempts by the owner to redevelop.
As we have heard nothing regarding our improved offer to purchase from the Owner, we have to consider 2 further options.
First, we have been in contact with SODC regarding a Compulsory Purchase order on the property. We now know their requirements and can act accordingly.
We do have access to sufficient potential funding for purchase and redevelopment, however we would need to raise more cash if we went down this route. The only place that this could come from is from enlarged fundraising and a Prospectus for capital support issued by our Community Interest Company.
The second option we are researching, as the property deteriorates more and more, is to ask SODC to apply provisions that exist in national planning laws.
There are sections, we believe, that apply to derelict property and the Council has a responsibility to act when the Owner allows the property to become detrimental to the area. As we all can see the property in general is not cared for, part of the attaching property has fallen down and we would suspect that the whole area may be a breeding ground for vermin etc, and that is just what we can see!!!
More on our research in another Newsletter.
Now onto the Pop up Pub.
It was with regret that we had to pull out of doing the Whitchurch Hill fete. This was not a lack of wanting to repeat the success of last year but simply that some key members of the group were at important, never to be repeated, family events and this seriously affected the logistics of transport, setting up and taking down. We could have stocked and ran the bar, but getting the equipment and marque there was a major issue without the key members.
Once again our apologies to the Parish Council for having to pull out.
We had also hoped to latch onto an event around the coronation, but unlike the Platinum Jubilee of the late Queen none were found
And finally…on a particular Crays Pond issue it is great to see that the old car sales lot and area is now with a new local owner who appears NOT to be changing the land to residential and that it is being regenerated.
Thanks again to all our Supporters, Our Pledgers, and those who have donated.
We can't do this without you
Save The White Lion-Crays Pond as a community asset