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April 2015
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newlsettersSo what happened on the Bugle's 're-opening day' of 9th March?

Absolutely nothing! No queue of thirsty punters on the path… no doors flung open to reveal a newly-scrubbed interior. The pub looked exactly the same as it has done every day since it called time on drinkers decades ago.

It was all eerily reminiscent of the flurry of excitement a few years ago when a sign went up to say an application was being made for late-night opening with entertainment. The village was agog (and in the case of one or two downright scandalised) – but again the date came and went with no sign of the vaunted re-opening and the application for the licence was taken down from the window as quietly as it had been put up.

Battle to save two other pubs
Meanwhile what’s happening with two other former pubs in the area whose future is uncertain? The Pheasant at Ballinger closed at the end of 2008, since when several changes of use applications have been refused. The local Parish Council listed the pub as “an asset of community value” in July 2013 and a Community Interest Company has been formed from local residents with a view to raising funds to buy it.

newlsettersOver in St Leonard’s the White Lion changed hands over 15 months ago, whereupon the new owners closed the pub and began to use it as residential dwelling and a base for their business in contravention of planning law. Their belated application for change of use from a pub to a house is finally due to be heard by the Chiltern District Council Planning Committee on 2nd April.

In an explanation of sorts for the delay the Council says the complexity of the application, the ramifications for the community, the potential impact on other Chiltern village pubs and the implications of enforcement action if the permission for change of use is refused – coupled with the heavy workload currently being experienced by Council officers – have all contributed to the length of time it has taken for the application to be heard.

So in the case of both these pubs watch this space, as they say. Or better still go to the campaigners’ respective websites at www.ballinger.org and www.savethewhitelion.co.uk.

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