I hope that the full (lack of) power of the City Council's new rules to protect our pubs from demolition isn't reflected in the recent demolitions of The Dog and Pheasant, Chesterton, and The Greyhound, Coldhams lane. To be frank, the fact that a recent application to demolish the Rosemary Branch, Coldhams Lane, looks set to go through, and an appeal against the refusal for demolition of The Penny Ferry, Chesterton, is pending, would suggest the new rules aren't up to much. Reports that The Bird (in hand), Newmarket Road, might be saved seems to have been premature as I'm told it is set to become a Chinese restaurant. Continuing the fashion for changing pubs into restaurants, my correspondents tell me that The Three Tuns at Willingham is now an Indian restaurant, and that the conversion of The White Horse, Pampisford, should the application be approved, will increase the number of Chinese food outlets in the Sawston and Pampisford area to 4.

Meanwhile, the online petition to save The Flying Pig, Hills Road, from demolition is gathering pace. The number of signatures is now nearing 2000, but 5000 should be easily achievable. If every member of CAMRA Cambridge branch were to sign it would add 3500 to the total. Go to the petition and and help try to save this city gem.

The White Horse, Conington is up for sale. It carries a £265,000 price tag.

And from our correspondents:

The Alexandra Arms, Gwydir Street, has re-opened with much deserved aplomb. This is a Greene King pub, but four of the eight beers on offer are free of tie. The awful, modern bistro bar look has been replaced with a comfortable "Local pub" interior. Craig, the landlord, who also looks after The Free Press, Prospect Row, has promised to make several family friendly improvements to the pub, including the introduction of a children's entertainment garden. As at the Free Press, beer is served in lined glasses so customers are assured of receiving a full pint.

The Earl of Beaconsfield, Mill Road, has installed a 4th hand pump. Rumour has it that this will offer one real ale free of Punch tie. The First and Last, Melbourne Place, is now being managed by the 'Simply Thai Food" managers from The Navigator, Little Shelford.

The Jolly Scholar, King St, has been bought by the owners of The Mill, Mill lane, and is set to re-open, complete with microbrewery, as The Cambridge Brewhouse in February.

The Mill will be having its own beer festival featuring a new 10% ABV ale from Cambridge Moonshine Brewery in the middle of January - timed to follow on from the Cambridge CAMRA Winter Ale Festival (17th - 19th January) which as usual is in the University Social Club, Mill Lane.

Congratulations, to the Portland Arms, Chesterton Road, on the opening of their new gig room. It is a very professional set up, which will surely make the pub one of the premier small entertainment venues in the city.

A continuing rise in real ale sales in The Maypole, Park Street, has justified an increase in the number of pumps serving ale to 16, up from 8. The front bar now concentrates on stronger and unusual ales whilst the session beers can be found in the rear bar.

Well done to The Granta, Newnham Road, for their effort and the success of their first ever beer festival held in November; and another Greene King pub, The Bath House, Ben'et St, is to lose manager Veru, who is moving to London. Whoever takes over faces an uphill task if the brewery continues to treat the pub as the poor relation to The Eagle (Ben'et St) keeping staff levels to the bare minimum, and maintaining limited beer and menu choices.

Further a field, The Green Man, Grantchester has sent us dates for their 2013 beer festivals. 4 in total, the first runs from 29th March to the 1st April. I recently enjoyed a very good pint of Timmy Taylors Landlord (4.3%) in The Blue Ball, which is another pub in Grantchester well worth a visit.

Terri and Jethro of The Cambridge Blue, Gwydir St, have taken on the lease of The Longbow, Stapleford. The pub will be re named The Three Horseshoes, and if the Cambridge Blue is anything to go by it promises to become the real ale Mecca the area really needs from February.

The Three Horshoes, Comberton is temporarily closed, no reason given as yet.

I've had several excellent reports about The Crown, Linton, and not only because they offer a 10% discount to CAMRA members on production of a membership card. One correspondent describes it as a "haven for real ale" in a "country pub atmosphere". Unfortunately, ALE 359 will be published after their Winter Beer festival on 7,8,9 December.

Another correspondent reports that in the Pear Tree, Hildersham, Sholto is consistently coming up with good quality ale - Church End Vicars Ruin (4.4%), a light hoppy bitter, on the last visit. An area of the garden has been given over to some fashionable decking and patio furniture, augmented by a curious boat full of pot plants. A newly installed wood burner helps to ward off the winter cold. Spirits continue to be dispensed with a measure rather than optics and include the Dr J's range from Dullingham.

In The Fox, Burwell, Bob and Louise Taylor have just past the magical figure of 1000 different ales served in their time at the pub.

Realising the needs of the community, The Chesnut Tree, West Wratting, now doubles as a library and a prescription collection/drop-off point.

The Carpenters Arms, Great Wilbraham, is now home to The Crafty Brewery. This home-brew pub is a long-overdue addition to the Cambridgeshire brewing scene. The brewer, Robert Beardsmore, a local man fresh from the wine trade, is producing the pub's first beer, Carpenters Cask (4.1%) a tawny bitter, ready for the Christmas period.

Good News in Sawston, where the Black Bull has re-opened as a pub, whilst still accommodating a Chinese take away business. Even better news in Willingham where a new Micro pub, The Bank, promises to challenge The St Radegund, King Street Cambridge, for the title of smallest pub in the Cambridge CAMRA district.

Congratulations to The Horningsea Community Interest Company who have just been awarded £46,500 from The Big Lottery Fund. The money will enable them to ensure that The Plough and Fleece, Horningsea continues to serve the needs of the whole community.

Welcome to Mark and Sandy, who have taken over the The Boot, Dullingham. It is unclear at the moment whether or not they are retaining The Bull, Burrough Green - more news in the next issue.

And finally, I'd like to thank those correspondents who noted my geographical blooper in ALE 358. The Tickell Arms is indeed in Whittlesford, not in Willingham as reported.

Will Smith
Correspondents: Clive Coole, Carl Woolf, Matthias Miller, Paul Treadaway, Ali Cook, Ian Kitching, Michael Martin
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