PUB MEETING UPDATE | Bishopsteignton Community Pub

Publish Date: 08/12/2017


Bishopsteignton Community Pub meeting

WEDNESDAY 6TH DECEMBER 2017 a large number of residents from the village squeezed into the Community Centre to hear more about the proposal to create a community pub. We apologise to those who were unable to gain entry due to the sheer numbers who turned up.

The idea of a community pub was prompted by the darkened frontage of the Ring of Bells which has been on the market now for six months with no offer of purchase in sight. This, and the fact that the other pub is also up for sale, encouraged a group of interested individuals to explore the idea of a community owned facility. John Shaw approached the Parish Council who indicated that if this was an area he wanted to explore, he and any other interested parties should go ahead, research the issue and come up with a proposal. Thus Bishop PINT was formed.

Community pubs have flourished in many parts of the country over the last few years as the traditional country pub (and some urban ones) have struggled increasingly to remain viable. They take many forms, but the key element is that their underlying principle is to serve the needs of the local community, often extending what they do beyond the remit of a standard village pub eg extended hours with say coffee shop, a place for community activities and meetings, partnerships with other facilities such as the community centre or local shop etc.

John Shaw, with help from a video by John Besant all the way from Australia, gave a presentation looking at the results of the informal survey done around the village festival this year, what a community pub could be, some of the funding mechanisms and legal entities that can be set up to run it, and also a case study of our nearest already running community pub, the Tally Ho in Littlehempston. This pub in a village with about 1/10th of the number of households of Bishopsteignton is of similar size to the Ring of Bells. It had been closed for 2 years and is now a thriving village facility despite the presence less than 400m away of another pub.

There were a number of questions and points raised after the presentation which are listed below. A vote taken at the end of the meeting showed the vast majority of attendees wanted to explore this further with only about 6 indicating they did not favour any further progress. This initial phase was mostly research into the concept of a community pub for our village. It was not to put together as a definitive proposal. This meeting was to see if there was any enthusiasm to take this to the next stage which will involve putting together a more detailed assessment of the feasibility of this idea. It is clear from some of the comments that a number of people wanted this next stage to consider both pubs as potential community pubs, given both are on the market. Based on this research, a proposal as to the most viable option would be drawn up, to be put to a future meeting of the village.

Thus Bishop PINT has fulfilled its remit to raise the issue and will effectively cease to exist. Given the endorsement from the meeting to explore further, it is proposed to set up an Action Committee to take over this work. If you are interested in being involved, or have any professional skills to offer, or you wish to offer your own thoughts, then please email either John Shaw or Peter Hepworth

Questions/points raised during the meeting 

  1. Has village been canvassed re BJ vs RoB?
  2. What kind of pub would you envisage? How would you attract people to the pub?
  3. But we already have a functioning pub.
  4. Two pubs on the market – without doing full structural survey on both, cannot make decision.
  5. Is the RoB so cheap because it doesn’t have facilities? Should we bite the bullet and go for the option which offers the best possibilities for the future?
  6. How would you plan to deliver level of sales envisaged by the business plan? Is it realistic?
  7. Yarcombe village doing the same thing – significantly smaller than this village.
  8. Need to make accessible for disabled.
  9. Could the BJ and RoB work in conjunction?
  10. What would you consider doing with the accommodation in both?
  11. Support for meal and drink.
  12. Purely for village or for people beyond this village?
  13. What consideration has been given to the Cockhaven Arms?.
  14. Have these community pubs had competition from other pubs? Is this village too endowed with competition from eg vineyard, other pubs?