For the the last 3 years a group of volunteers from Holywell Green have been working tirelessly to save the only pub in their village. The Save the Holywell Inn campaign group have received national recognition for their endeavours on plans to turn the now derelict Holywell Inn into the thriving heart of the community, run by the community for the community.
But do we all understand what the loss of the Holywell Inn will mean culturally, socially, economically and environmentally for the village?
Lets take a look at each of the factors in turn.
Pubs are part of the fabric of our country, they have been at the heart of community life for hundreds of years, they are British institutions that are becoming more and more scarce as time goes by. Oh yes, recent government legislation has slowed the demise of the ‘village pub’, but for every pub that closes, a part of our heritage goes with it.
The Holywell Inn stood at the centre of Holywell Green for nearly 190 years before it’s doors closed on 31st December 2011. We are now in danger of losing a part of our heritage forever. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever!
From a recent poll by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), outside the home the pub scored the highest of any location as a place where people meet and get together with others in their neighbourhood. This is a phenomenally important point to consider in Holywell Green. Here are some statistic on the level of social isolation in Holywell Green:
We are all familiar with modern day ‘Social Networks’ such as Facebook and Twitter, but as one of our supporters once said to us ‘pubs, 1000 years of social networking’, and that is the point, as a society we have forgotten about he need to socialise face to face with our friends and neighbours. Without our beloved ‘local’ where else can we do it?
The IPPR also states that:
‘Local pubs support social networks in two main ways: they allow people to strengthen existing social networks by meeting up with friends and family, and they provide a place where people are able to meet new people and extend their networks of acquaintances’.
This is the one way in which the isolation factor for the 180 over 60’s and the 120 single occupancy households in Holywell Green can be addressed.
But taking this further and looking at the services and facilities we aim to provide from the Holywell Inn, we can start to address the isolation of single parent families, providing activities for their children, allowing the parents to meet each other and build new social networks.
So what benefit can a pub bring to the local economy. Well lets just think about it.
The above points are all tangible benefits, however their can be some economic disadvantages to losing the village pub. It has been calculated that the loss of the ‘local’ can have an adverse impact on the value of surrounding property, which is estimated at between 10% and 20%. So let’s say that prior to the pub closing a property was worth £100,000; it is estimated that best case the property will be worth £90,000 after the pub closure.
So we currently have a closed and increasingly derelict building in the centre of Holywell Green. The current owner is purposely leaving it to rot. In simple terms it is an eyesore!
By renovating and reopening the Holywell Inn as a community owned pub, there is an immediate impact on the environment; the aesthetics of the centre of the village will be transformed.
We have also seen an increase in the number of youths congregating around the closed pub, which would undoubtedly be reduced were it reopened; firstly by there being a constant presence of adults in the vicinity, but also through the provision of activities for teenagers such as youth clubs, film clubs etc. We have also been asked if we can provide a space for a Police Drop-in centre, meaning that there will be a regular police presence in the area.
Re-opening the Holywell Inn as a community pub is only part of the story. There are additional plans to convert the double garage at the side of the pub into a Cafe by day and a Bistro by night, further supporting the factors described above; providing cultural, social, economic and environmental benefits.
Further more, as a not for profit Industrial & Provident Society, ALL of the profit made from these businesses will be fed back into the community, making YOUR community an even better place to live. Just think what these funds could be invested in, a community green grocers, community shop, student bursaries, community bakers. The world really could be our oyster.
Anyone can be part of this, but we all have to pull in the same direction. If you would like to know more, how you can get involved, or take part in the Share Offer, take a look at the website www.holywellinn.co.uk, contact Mark Stead (07737 884679) or John Walsh (07741 172494)