'Running a pub is hard'

Antony Worrall Thompson supports road sign for the Lamb...

Henley Standard ~ 3rd September 2010

'Sir, - Last week's Standard gave rise to an interesting situation where Henley Town Council and South Oxfordshire District Council appear to have opposing views.

On the one hand, the town council wants to prevent the Old White Horse in Northfield End being knocked down and replaced with five houses and on the other, the distict council wants to prevent the Lamb at Satwell having a tasteful road sign which attracts business to the pub.

The Old White Horse closed its doors six months ago through lack of business. Nationwide, 40 pubs a weeks are closing for the same reason.

Chris Smith and his partners at the Lamb are bravely trying to keep a 500-year-old pub afloat. They are off the beaten track and have little or no passing trade.

Councils need to be consistent. Just driving around Henley, Peppard, Remenham, Hurley and the surrounding areas, you will see dozens of similar signs - many, I'm sure, without the necessary permission. Will they all have enforcement notices slapped on them?

If we want pubs, part of our national heritage, to survive then surely councils and we the public must do our bit to help. If a pub isn't working, then it has to close. If it has to close, then the site either rots or changes its status to a private dwelling - despite the opposition of some locals.

It's all very well out town council objecting to the proposed redevelopment of the Old White Horse but is it prepared to go in and run the pub? It takes a lot of effort and costs a lot of money. So there's your challenge, councillors.

Yours Faithfully,
Antony Worrall Thompson MOGB
(Meilleur Ouvrier de Grande Bretagne)
The Greyhound, Rotherfield Peppard