Bid lodged to save Northumberland village pub

Fears are growing that last orders could be called on more than 200 years of history if a village pub is put up for sale.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 1:16 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd November 2021, 2:36 pm
The Fishers Arms in Main Street, Horncliffe. Picture from Google.

Horncliffe, on the Northumberland side of the Anglo-Scottish border, is believed to have had a dedicated watering hole since the 1760s.

To preserve this, the existing inn, The Fishers Arms, in Main Street, has been protected by special ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV) status.

But concerns are growing that families in the area may lose their community hub and favoured meeting spot after notice was officially served of plans by the current owners to sell up.

“Our main aim at the moment is to ensure that the ACV remains on The Fishers Arms,” said Moira Kay, chairman of the Horncliffe Memorial Hall committee and a campaigner fighting to save the pub.

“We would like Northumberland County Council (NCC) to enforce the terms of the ACV and ensure that all of the remaining footprint of the pub is protected.”

According to an official notice issued by the county council, it was notified of the owner’s intention to sell the pub in September.

This then triggered a six-week period in which “any eligible community interest group” could register to be considered a potential bidder, once the property was listed on the market.

Following the “interim moratorium” period, if an eligible group has made its interest known it has six months to make a suitable offer, before it can be listed on the open market.

According to NCC, this process has now been triggered, although any interested party will not be able to bid for the whole of the pub site, as it has been partly converted into residential property.

In a statement, the local authority said: “The council is just administering the community’s right to bid. It is up to the community and the owner to negotiate and the owner does not have to accept their offer.

“If after the moratorium is up and either no bid is made or accepted, the owner is free to sell it without restriction for 12 months.

“To say that an ACV order that was in place has been wholly or partially removed by the council is false.”