Fight to stop ‘disastrous’ pub closure

The Prince of Orange pub in Yatton.

The Prince of Orange pub in Yatton. - Credit: Archant

Yatton faces a ‘disaster’ if one of its High Street pubs is sold, according to villagers fighting to keep it open.

The Prince of Orange pub has been put up for sale after its owner, Enterprise Inns, won outline planning permission to build four houses in its beer garden – and admitted the pub did not have a ‘long-term future’ within its plans.

A group of campaigning villagers is trying to block the sale by applying to North Somerset Council to list the pub as an asset of community value (ACV), which if successful, would give it six months to prepare to buy the pub instead.

The group applied earlier this year just to list the pub’s garden and car park as an ACV, but this was rejected by the council. People now hope the second application will help to secure the pub’s long-term future.

Martin Headford, Dave Heaven and David Lock are leading the effort.

Mr Headford said: “When I first moved to Yatton, we started playing pool and the pub was a second home, where people got together and had a laugh, like a normal village pub.

“The only difference (now) is people are just a bit more grey. It has always been a close community.

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“Everyone is really fed up about the whole prospect of it. It will rip the heart out of the village. We all enjoy it and have a good laugh there.

“It is not just a pub. The whole social aspect and what it does for the community is about more than just having a drink.

“It is just going to be a disaster.

“Simon (the landlord) has got people back in there, only for the developers to come in and line their pockets. It feels like, what with the developments at Arnolds Way, the village feel will disappear and we will become a small town.

“While we all accept progress is inevitable – and the developers will always win – we should not just take this lying down.

“We want people to know we are not happy as a village and we do not want the heart of our village being ripped out.”

The group will learn next month if its bid has been successful.

An Enterprise Inns spokesman said: “As part of our ongoing business, we do from time to time identify a pub that may no longer have a long-term future in our estate.

“After careful consideration, the decision has been made to sell the freehold of the Prince of Orange and the pub is currently being openly marketed with no future restrictions on use and the licence intact.”