ALE Spring 2001 No. 301

Pub News

All Steamed Up

Patrons of the Poacher at Elsworth recently found their pub had been shut down overnight and the windows boarded up by the owner.

The pub is 350 years old and was originally the brewhouse for the nearby manor house. The village does also have the George and Dragon, which is a restaurant.

In 1997 the Poacher was a successful business. Then the present owner bought it and according to locals he then failed to get on with a series of managers and with the locals, resulting in a downward spiral.

Villagers have now formed a group to stop it being converted into a house: STEAM Save the Elsworth Amenities Movement. Several people have contacted the group to say they're interested in buying the pub as a going concern.

More than 150 villagers have already helped by writing letters to the local council and CAMRA lodged an objection to the change of use.

Planners then turned down the application. They accepted that the other licensed premises in the village (the George and Dragon) is run principally as a restaurant. "The Poacher is therefore the only genuine public house within Elsworth, a village which has no other social meeting venue and represents an important asset to the community." The refusal notice also pointed out that insufficient evidence was submitted to show that the pub was not viable as a business. We now wait to see if the owner will appeal against the decision or put it on the market as a pub - hopefully the latter.
[ALE 303 follow-up]

Around the villages

Real ale drinkers received an early Christmas at the end of last year. The West End House, Ely, mentioned in the Good Beer Guide, held a month-long Real Ale Campaign in December 2000, when all five of the pub's real ales were reduced in price by 10 to 15 pence a pint. Enzo, the landlord, was quoted in the local paper as saying that he hoped it would 'lure people away from the keg beers and back on to the good stuff'.

The replacement for the Fox, Bar Hill is still an empty shell. Tesco demolished it last year to build their Tesco Extra hypermarket in exchange for building a new pub. The new building has been leased as a shell to Punch Taverns but they have been very evasive over their plans to fit it out and open it. Fortunately Bar Hill has an excellent social club selling a good range of real ales.

The Pig and Abbot at Abingdon Piggots is having a mini beer festival over the Easter weekend (13 to 16 April), including at least 6 different City of Cambridge beers and lots of family-orientated activities in the garden. Phone the pub on (01763) 853515) for more details.

All information is believed correct at time of going to press. If our spies have got anything wrong, please contact the editor, who will be happy to print a correction.

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Cambridge & District CAMRA