A campaign group in Aston Clinton are desperately trying to save their 172-year-old local pub which is set to close its doors forever next month having been open since 1847.
Although the current tenants of the Rothschild Arms are keen to stay on, and have even in the past put in a bid to buy the pub, Punch brewery who own it have sold the site to property developers.
Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC), the planning authority, rejected the move but were over-ruled on appeal.
Campaigners, who have already raised approximately £15,000, are now in a race against time to save their beloved pub.
In their statement, the campaigners write:
“The Rothschild Arms has been a pub for 172 years. It is in Aston Clinton Buckinghamshire. It is the only pub left in the area that bears the name of the local Rothschild family.
“It is currently a viable business run, by a local couple, who live there with their six children, one of whom is only four months old. The pub hosts four darts teams, five pool teams, local scooter clubs, Aston Clinton Football Club, and various charities including the Royal British Legion and a local cancer charity.”
Ironically, Punch have declared themselves supporters of the 'Long Live The Local' campaign to prevent pubs from closing. Clearly many residents of Aston Clinton are struggling to see how this pronouncement tallies with the decision about the future of their local.
The group have called their support for the campaign “a fiction,” adding that the brewery are “only interested in money and not local communities.”
One resident of Aston Clinton and regular at the Rothschild Arms said regarding the imminent closure:
“To say we’re gutted is an understatement - we just don’t get it.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Punch, Clive Chesser, provided the following statement:
“The Rothschild Arms was marketed for sale for almost two years, during which time we were unsuccessful in selling the pub as a going concern. We are investing record levels into our pub estate this year and we have a strong track record of supporting the retention of pubs in communities across the UK. Unfortunately we sometimes have to reach the difficult conclusion that a pub business is no longer viable, and we have to explore other options, although I would stress that this is rare. We have significantly subsidised The Rothschild Arms for several years, allowing it to stay open for as long as possible. Without this support, the pub does not provide a viable long-term business opportunity for an independent publican and it would be wrong for us to expect someone to take it on. We regret the disappointment that this decision may cause to the pub regulars and other members of the local community. We enjoy a positive working relationship with our publicans who run the pub on a temporary contract. We will continue to work closely with them, supporting them as they move to leave the pub, and we are hopeful that they will be able to continue to run other pubs with us in the future.”