ALE Spring 1998 No. 290

Village Pubs Under Threat

Four pubs in our area are currently in the process of conversion to private houses.

The Hoops at Great Eversden closed in January for financial reasons. A village Action Group was set up to investigate a way to buy the pub on behalf of the village. The problem according to ex-Landlord John Ward is that the very people who are now frantically distraught about losing their village facility are the same people who failed to use it when it was up and running.

The Plough, Little Downham, just to the west of Ely, is up for sale by Greene King. This was a small, regulars' pub with a two-tier bar, popular for home-cooked food. It is not, thankfully, the last pub in the village as the Anchor (Pubmaster), a bit further down the main street, is, we hope, thriving.

The Hole-in-the-Wall, Little Wilbraham has been an up-market food-orientated Free House which has succumbed to the changing social patterns.

The Kings at Reach has had a stay of execution as Landlord Bill Lester has taken it off the market having failed to receive a suitable offer near the asking price. The Residents Group who hoped to buy the pub could only manage to come up with a sum about 30,000 short in the time available. The pub will remain open during the summer while planning permission for change of use is sought. The villagers will of course steadfastly oppose this. It is the only pub in the village and would be a terrible loss of an amenity. But at present, it is not earning enough to pay the bills. Any answers to this conundrum?

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