As briefly mentioned last time, the Rosemary Branch, Cherry Hinton is the latest city pub to close its doors. Campbell Properties, a developer, bought it from Punch Taverns for nearly £500k last March. They put in a planning application to build eight houses and three flats on the site but then withdrew it. The pub had continued trading but shut up shop at the end of January and is now enclosed in security fencing. The developer's intentions aren't clear but another planning application can't be far away. The Rosemary Branch was the only pub left serving the northern part of Cherry Hinton.

Another closed city pub is the Zebra on Maids Causeway. The shadowy developer who now owns the building has made a pre-application enquiry concerning erection of 16 flats.

And yet another is the Queen Edith, Wulfstan Way, which has seemingly been bought by, yes, a developer for £865k. The Council has rejected a previous planning application to build houses on the site so let's hope they do so again.

The next beer festival at the excellent Green Man, Grantchester is over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend (6-9 April). Over 50 beers and ciders will be available, including offerings from most local breweries and producers. Live music will be happening throughout the event and the usual great food will be served all weekend. Will anything be left for our Branch meeting there the Tuesday afterwards?

A successful festival already held was at the Maypole, Park Street, Cambridge – it celebrated the Castiglione family's 30 years at the pub. More than 40 beers were on offer, including ales from most of our local breweries. Fellows launched two beers, Full English (a bitter ale) and Crafty Fellow (a golden one) while Lord Conrad's gave a first outing to Zulu, a rich dark beer flavoured with hibiscus flowers. Also brand new was Archimedes from Milton which Vincent from the Maypole helped to brew. Vincent is certainly intending to have another festival before long.

The Med on Perne Road, Cambridge is a good place to be on Wednesdays as all real ales are £2.50 a pint. Adnams Lighthouse, Greene King London Glory, Sharps Doom Bar and Westons Old Rosie cider occupied the pumps when last we called.

Planning consent has finally been granted to demolish Greene King's Blue Lion, Fen Ditton and to replace it with thirteen houses.

The Marquis of Granby, Stetchworth (ex-Greene King) is now a free house and has four handpumps selling a variety of beers.

Building work is under way at the Red Lion, Brinkley, another former Greene King pub, so let's hope a further free house is on its way.

A group of individuals in Thriplow is preparing to buy the Green Man – a free house in the village. Shares in a limited company will be on sale during March to local people with an interest in the pub and this company will buy the pub and recruit a tenant to run it, serving food and real ales as present. A significant amount of refurbishment will be undertaken later this year. Anyone interested in becoming the tenant should apply to Kevin Clarke at as soon as possible. In the meantime, we're assured the pub is, and will remain, OPEN.

The villagers of West Wratting had also made plans to purchase their local, the Chestnut Tree, and turn it into a community asset. However, Greene King have chosen to sell it (subject to contract) to private buyers, who do though intend keeping on most of the existing staff.

At Orwell, in the west of our area, more villagers are making efforts to secure their local, the Chequers, from Punch Taverns – though the asking price of around £500k is pretty steep. Having said that, it's the last pub in the village so the District Council would be unlikely to give planning consent for residential conversion.

The Plough, Shepreth is an example of where that planning policy came into play. South Cambridgeshire refused an application last year to turn the pub (closed since the start of 2011) into a house. The applicants have gone to appeal with the hearing likely in April. They claim that the Council's “last pub in the village” policy doesn't apply because the Plough has been trading as a restaurant in recent years. CAMRA has rebutted this claim but it will be interesting to see how the Planning Inspector responds.

Two other planning appeals are on the horizon. Cambridge City Council refused change of use applications for both the Unicorn, Cherry Hinton and the Carpenters Arms, Victoria Road and in each case appeals have been lodged. Having no relevant planning policy (yet) of its own, the Council has relied on the draft National Planning Policy Framework to frame its reasons for refusal. Again, how the Planning Inspector reacts could have far-reaching implications.

In other planning news, and as reported in the local media, the Branch has submitted a planning application to change the use of the Royal Standard, 1zMill Road, Cambridge from a restaurant (which it was for several years before closing in 2011) back into a pub. A further planning application to redevelop the site for housing has now been submitted and we hope that re-establishing a pub use will strengthen the Council's hand if it wishes to make a refusal decision.

Some folk from London have secured the lease (at £50k per annum) of the Mill Mill Lane, Cambridge from the University. Rumour is that the paperwork is/was snarled up in the Uni's Estates Dept. hence the lack of site activity.

By the time you read this, the Red Bull, Newnham will be in the capable hands of the team which runs the 1xBurleigh Arms, Cambridge.

Redcomb Pubs have leased the John Barleycorn, Duxford from Greene King. Redcomb were founded by former M&B marketing executive Dan Shotton and they aspire to “quality local pubs which offer a premium casual dining experience”. So far as we know, there's still a beer tie to GK.

The Dykes End, Reach has a new owner, George Gibson. Recently, this pub was descended on by the Real Ale Ramblers, a group from London who arrived by minibus, worked their way through three casks of Devil's Dyke Bitter and left a framed certificate as a memento of their visit (surprising that they remembered to present it)

The Greene King-owned Crown at Burwell is closed with no sign of life. Ominously, it doesn't appear on their list of pubs available as tenancies, which leads us on to.....

GK pubs which are up for grabs locally are the Five Bells Burwell, Hop Bind Cottenham, Jenny Wren Cambridge and Tally Ho Trumpington. Enterprise Inns are still trying to find takers for the Rupert Brooke Grantchester and Three Horseshoes Comberton. Also now long term entries in this part of Pub News are the King William IV Heydon and Pheasant Great Chishill, which Christies continue to offer for sale at £845k and £595k respectively. Everard Cole have four Punch Taverns pubs on the market – the aforementioned Chequers Orwell and (all at £425k) the Kings Head Dullingham, Reindeer Saxon Street and Haymakers Chesterton.

Stop Press: Planning applications have been submitted concerning two more Cambridge pubs. Greene King have applied to change the use of the Seven Stars Newmarket Road to residential. The developers who own the long-closed Greyhound on Coldhams Lane want consent to demolish it and build industrial units on the site. CAMRA has objected to both applications.