Bidding to buy the Station Pub

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Last week the Parish Council decided to start the process of bidding to buy the Station Pub. I voted against this decision for the following reasons:

  • Support for a community bid to purchase the pub would be better channelled through the community group set up for the purpose.

  • villagers would be much more likely to financially support a community group than support the Parish council, as the latter has the power to impose a cost on everyone in the village through increasing Council Tax.

  • local government, including Parish Councils, is not equipped to make the commercial decisions necessary to make a success of running business which has to compete in a marketplace. The casual dining sector/pub sector is notoriously competitive and is better left to a talented entrepreneur who has perfectly aligned incentives to deliver a local service which maximised local utility.

  • supporting a pub through taxes is not fair on other local pubs restaurants and bars (including the Royal British Legion in Gun Lane).

In the Bidding for an Asset of Community Value page from NHDC website it states, “If there is more than one community group interested in purchasing the property, we would encourage the groups to work together,” which is somewhat ambiguous, but to me suggests that a joint bid should be preferred to competing ones.

Out of interest I looked up the corporate entity set up by the campaign group. This seems to have been dissolved, but a new one has now been set up with Caroline Berkley, Mark Folwell, Lisa Nash, Phil Skone as directors.

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