Council talks of reopening ‘historic’ Portishead pub as a museum

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 June 2018

The Old Mill in Portishead.

The Old Mill in Portishead.

Archant

A vacant Portishead pub could become a museum if its lease is taken on by the town council.

The Old Mill in High Street closed last month, two years after it previously shut its doors while it was known as The White Lion.

Last week Portishead Town Council discussed the possibility of listing the building as an asset of community value, with councillors and members of the public sharing ideas for what the site could be used as.

If listed a moratorium period would be imposed to allow the community to prepare a bid.

Councillor Marilyn Koops said: “We have an ideal opportunity with a historic pub, which still has the workings within it, for opening a heritage centre.

“There is a huge amount of space in The Old Mill which could bring in an income.

“I would be in favour of investigating further whether or not it is a viable suggestion.

“We have a number of items which we could incorporate into a museum.”

The building is owned by Ei Publican Partnerships and is being marketed as a pub, but Cllr Lesley Cottrell – who put the asset of community value proposal forward – told the meeting it is soon to be advertised without a tie, meaning the site can be bought with a view to being used in another way.

Some concerns were raised by residents over the potential costs to maintain the building, but council chairman Peter Mitchell believes its owner ‘would love’ to sell up.

He added: “I would quite like to have a formal police presence in the centre of town.

“Ei, I would imagine, would love to get rid of it.

“There has been a lot of money spent on it and it has gone bust three times.”

The venue is being advertised on Ei Publican Partnership’s website with an annual rental cost of £30,000 and an estimated turnover potential of £584,000 a year.

Its owner has also reiterated its desire to see the building continue to be used as a pub.

A spokesman said: “We would like to reassure the community that we intend to reopen the pub with a new publican in the near future.”

Although the council did not hold a vote to list The Old Mill as an asset of community value, it has agreed to meet Ei to discuss the building’s future.

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