The Rising Sun, Woodcroft –
An Asset For Stroat?
Rising Sun bid sinks
THE owners of a disused Forest pub have failed in their bid to have it removed from a list of community assets.
The Rising Sun at Woodcroft near Chepstow was placed on the Forest Council’s list of community assets at the request of a campaign group that wants to see it reopened as a pub.
Owners Worthy Developments appealed against the listing of the pub as a community asset.
Once a local facility, such as a pub, is put on the list an owner must tell the council if it intends to sell it.
A community interest group then has six weeks in which to be asked as a potential bidder and the sale cannot take place for six months.
At the end of six months it is entirely up to the owner whether a sale goes through, to whom and for how much.
The pub closed in around February 2012 and was bought in October 2012 by Worthy Developments.
Residents formed a ‘Save Our Sun’ committee to get it reopened as pub, shop and delivery stop to be run by a not-for-profit organisation.
Worthy Developments argued that the pub had a history of commercial failure and suggested that Judge Nicholas Warren look at the last five years of its operation.
The owners argued that to comply with the terms of the Localism Act — under which the pub was listed as a community asset — it had to be shown that the Rising Sun had been in beneficial use to the area for a substantial part of the last five years.
The owners said there had been several unsuccessful tenants and in the five years the pub had only operated for 11 or 18 months.
Judge Warren, sitting as chamber president of a first tier tribunal in Cardiff, said that Parliament had not specified five years in the Act and it was ‘illogical’ to seize on that time period.
At the time of the hearing a planning application to convert the Rising Sun into two houses was still outstanding but the Forest Council subsequently rejected it.
Judge Warren said he took into account the detailed appraisals produced by the owners of the viability of the Rising Sun returning to use.
He added: “I accept these demonstrate that there are obstacles. It is important, however, not to confuse commercial viability with what altruism and community effort can achieve.
“The calculations advanced by Worthy Development Ltd do not, in my view, demonstrate that the committee’s plans are not realistic.”
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