Residents launch campaign to save landmark pub in Skegby
Angry residents in Skegby have launched a campaign to fight plans that would close a landmark pub.
The Rifle Volunteer, on Forest Road, is housed in an historic building that dates back to 1845, and is so called because it was the place where locals signed up to join the Army during the Second World War.
However, its days are numbered if a planning application to convert it into a convenience store and hot-food takeaway is approved by Ashfield District Council.
So, villagers have clubbed together to bombard the council with objections, urging a last-minute reprieve for what they regard as “a community asset and hub”. They even plastered a ‘Save Our Pub’ banner across the front of the building.
"We are passionate about leaving the building as a pub,” said regular Daniel Atherton, better known as Keiron, who is spearheading the campaign.
"The village already has a lot of similar stores, all within five minutes’ walking distance.
"It is a beautiful building, but the new owners want to put a God-forsaken extension on the front of it. We are trying our best to get this thrown out.
"Ninety-five per cent of the village is behind this campaign. We believe we can make the pub a viable concern.”
Viability was the reason behind the decision of the Rifle Volunteer’s former owners to sell the boozer after the Covid-19 pandemic struck and forced it to close its doors.
It was run by Star Bars and Pubs, on behalf of Heineken, and although it briefly re-opened last summer, the pub was soon put on the market, with estate agent Savills instructed to sell.
"Myself and two associates told Savills we were interested in buying it,” said 56-year-old builder Keiron. “We had the money to invest in the pub and update it.
"But then a mysterious bidder popped up and pipped us to the post.”
That bidder was the Coventry-based firm SK (Newhall) Ltd, which operates convenience stores up and down the country. And one of its three directors, 37-year-old Parbat Godhaniya, submitted the planning application, which is scheduled to be decided upon by the council within the next month.
SK insists the conversion of the building would be attractive, fit in well with the current design and wouldn’t be to the detriment of other businesses in Skegby.