Village pub looking for tenants despite being listed as an asset of community value

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 August 2018

The George Inn at Abbots Leigh.

The George Inn at Abbots Leigh.

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A village pub has been listed as an asset of community value by North Somerset Council – but it remains closed.

The George Inn at Abbots Leigh.The George Inn at Abbots Leigh.

The George Inn, in Abbots Leigh, will sit on the list for the next five years, which prevents the owner, Ei Group, disposing of the freehold or granting a lease of 25 years or more without giving the community the opportunity to form its own bid.

Ei Group has advertised for a tenant and the property agent managing the lease, Fleurets, has completed two viewings in recent weeks, but no offers have been made.

Abbotts Leigh Parish Council has formed a small group which wants the watering hole to reopen.

The group, which is spearheaded by parish councillor Murray Stewart, has made contact with Fleurets and has asked to be kept in touch with potential lease holders.

The George Inn at Abbots Leigh.The George Inn at Abbots Leigh.

Cllr Stewart said: “We have made clear our wish to re-establish a positive relationship between pub and community.

“We are keen to talk with any prospective landlord and to engage the community to support the pub.

“As things develop we hope to add to the group and draw many more villagers in to the process, stimulate commitment in the village to the pub, but not interfere with its running as a business.”

The building, in Manor Road, is one of the oldest in the village, dating back to the 1700s.

Ei Group has listed the public house as having a potential turnover of £386,000 per annum, with an estimated capital start-up of £22,500 and an introductory rent of £20,000 per annum.

The public house has two bars, a beer garden, function room and private accommodation of two bedrooms, a lounge and a kitchen.

In a supporting document, Ei Group said the pub ‘needs personal investment of time, effort and skills to realise its potential’.

Trevor Ellard, regional manager for the Ei Group, said: “Although the outlet has been trading as a gastro pub, the market suggests a more wet-led operation with a mid-market quality food offering would produce a richer reward for the new publican.

“We are ideally looking for an experienced operator to take over the site to move the pub in this direction while keeping it as a destination dining site.”

The Ei Group is also involved with The Plough and The Old Mill pubs in Portishead which are both closed.

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