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£450,000 for closed pub in rural Cambridgeshire

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A country pub is up for sale for £450,000 just months after MP for NW Cambridgeshire MP, Shailesh Vara, visited to see if it could be saved by a village consortium.

The Lion public house in Herne Road, Ramsey St Mary’s – five miles from Whittlesey – is up for sale with pub specialists Everard Cole Ltd of Cambridge.

The pub closed during the pandemic and at one time the owners put in an application to Huntingdonshire District Council to convert it to six flats.

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However, the applicant later withdrew, and no decision was ever made; the parish council did, however, recommend refusal.

“Unanimously refused,” said the parish council. “It was agreed that flats are not required within the village.

“A development of social housing has recently been approved opposite the proposed development and it was felt that the public house is a community asset the village needs to maintain.

“With the village growing the public house could become viable.”

That was the thinking behind a small group of residents who got together earlier this year to consider buying it as a community asset.

More than 40 people attended a meeting to look at the possibility included the Mayor of Ramsey and county councillors.

The effort to save the pub was organised by Micky O’Donoghue who said the “whole emphasis is going to be on it being a community pub.

“The Lion has a big function room upstairs which can be used for community activities like learning clubs, book clubs, mother and baby groups, every aspect of which you can think.

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“Everybody wants it because there is no community centre in Ramsey St Mary’s Heights itself or no hub at all, and the emphasis will be on it becoming a hub of the community.”

He was “delighted that Shailesh Vara came to the pub as it was a good endorsement; he is willing to direct us to the treasury, who announced in the budget last year that they will be introducing a new community support grant.

“It is a pot of money put aside to help communities buy their own pubs because of the amount which closed during the pandemic.”

The MP told a local newspaper: “I was pleased to hear of this initiative. As well as serving as a pub, The Lion will be able to provide residents with a venue for various other local activities.”

Little has been heard since of the ‘save our pub’ effort.

And whether it can continue as a pub is debatable.

Current owners, in their aborted application for conversion to flats, pointed out that, historically “The Lion public house experienced good levels of wet, dry and function derived trade.

“However, following an increasingly competitive marketplace, the trading performance of the business declined significantly.

“The property is no longer considered to be viable for ongoing use as a public house. “Alternative commercial uses have been considered but these too are considered to be unviable.”

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