|Dear friends,As we head into the holidays, I wanted to drop a quick line with our thanks to you all for your ongoing support for our campaign to save The White Horse. It is hard to believe that almost a year has passed since our treasured village pub was sold to Jonathan Bowers and I am sorry to say it remains closed, as it has been now for almost 20 months.
Our hopes were raised after our autumn meeting, as some repair works were carried out. Sadly, the reopening remains a distant dream – according to the West Oxfordshire District Council’s website at the time of writing there is still no premises license application and it seems no tenant has been appointed yet. In just the last few weeks, the first advertisement for a tenant has appeared (https://bit.ly/3H53IkI), which is at least a hopeful sign.
Unfortunately though, this is not with an agent who specialises in pub lettings and to date they have not put a lettings board up outside the building. The terms of the tenancy also seem unrealistic in the current market; for example, the advertised rent would only be competitive, if a tenant generated almost double the level of turnover that our independent valuation of pub (https://bit.ly/3pq9d7D) said careful management could achieve.
Nonetheless, we live in hope that the New Year will bring us some good news and of course, if not, then our offer to step in to buy the pub and run it in the community’s interest remains open to Mr Bowers.
I am sorry not to have more cheerful news for you, knowing that we would all like nothing better than to be able to gather in The White Horse this Christmas and New Year as many of us have done so happily in the past. But we always anticipated it would take a while, and I thank you all for your continuing backing of our efforts as we work towards achieving a long-term happy resolution.
Meanwhile we have again this year teamed up with Stonesfield Mutual Aid to provide Christmas food parcels to those struggling to make ends meet in these difficult times. Some 30 parcels have been generously donated by our friends and neighbours in the village and surrounding areas and our volunteers were only too delighted to collect these for distribution by Stonesfield Mutual Aid. We will be out again on 8 January for a pay-as-you-feel soup fundraiser at the Village Hall, with profits going to Stonesfield Mutual Aid.
So from all of us on the Stonesfield Community Pub committee, we wish you a happy and healthy Christmas and all the very best wishes for 2022.
Stonesfield Community Pub Chair