The Packhorse Inn is one of the Bath area’s oldest and much-loved pubs. The 17th century building, set in a large garden, is full of character: with flagstone floors, original timber beams and an inglenook fire place. This is a refuge valued by locals and walkers alike. A cosy, friendly and quintessentially British pub!
But, on Sunday 13 May 2012, the Packhorse Inn closed. The new owner, a Mr Martin Sherry has told us unequivocally that he has bought the building to use as his own private home and has no intention of selling to anyone.
A great many people are very upset that this has happened with no attempt to keep the pub open and without consultation of any kind.
So far we have collected well over 1200 petition signatures – not just from the local area but from around the world – highlighting the importance of the Packhorse to locals and visitors alike.
The Packhorse was put up for sale by Punch Taverns Ltd around March 2012 with an asking price of £375,000. They exchanged contracts with Mr Bob Goodman, a local chartered surveyor, just two months later. We learned of his plans to convert the pub to offices on 7th May. He changed his mind before completion on witnessing the strength of feeling against closing the pub.
According to James Baker, the agent, the pub did not come back on the market. As far as we know, Mr Sherry took over the contract and finally completed with Punch on Tuesday 29th May. Mr Sherry’s partner, Ken Lambert, tells us that he is now managing the renovation of the building.
It was no surprise that Punch sold the pub. It was clearly failing under their ownership. But several experienced publicans submitted above-the-asking-price bids for the Packhorse and several more have since approached the campaign team to express further interest. The professionals clearly believe the pub is viable as a freehouse.
The Packhorse is unique, historic and an important asset for the community. Enquiries with B&NES show that, because of this, change of use is not supported by the planning authorities. The campaign is growing at a local level through the councils and conservation groups and has already attracted interest from national media.
And on 4 February 2013, the Packhorse Inn was added to B&NES’ list of Assets of Community Value – the first entry!
Here’s our take on the current situation:
- Why did the Packhorse close?
- Why did Punch Taverns sell?
- Is the pub viable as a freehouse?
- Couldn’t the village buy it?
- Can planning laws protect the pub?
We are determined to save this much loved pub and valuable village amenity, but need your help:
- Please complete our declaration of interest form!!
- Put a poster in your window
- “Like” our Facebook page and join us on Twitter via #SaveThePackhorse
- Add a comment to the bottom of this page
- Write to your politicians
- Follow our latest updates
- Get involved via our Contact Us page
Many thanks for your help!