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By Tristan Harris Wednesday 13 February 2013 Updated: 20/02 23:44
THE CHAIRMAN of the Redditch and Bromsgrove branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) has expressed his concerns about the future of two pubs which are set to go under the hammer at the end of the month.
Paul Richards voiced his fears about The Queens Head Inn in Stoke Pound, and The Country Girl in Stoke Prior, which will be among 17 pubs on offer at the Holte Suite, Aston Villa Football Club, at 11am on February 28.
And he said he, and other CAMRA members, hoped both would get new owners who could put them back where they belonged - at the heart of their respective communities.
"Pubs aren’t just about serving food - they provide vital community facilities and should be preserved at all costs.
"We hope that the new owners will choose to continue to run these businesses as pubs so that local people have a great venue to visit for a pint,” he added.
His calls come amidst shocking survival statistics for the traditional British pub, which show that, in the UK, 18 of them a week are closing.
CAMRA attributes the demise of a lot of the venues to a number of factors, including the increase on beer duty, which has risen by 42 per cent in the last three years, and 'unfair' leases by large pub companies, which see landlords struggling on tiny profit margins.
Ian Tudor, the director of CPBigwood Chartered Surveyors and Auctioneers, which has organised the auction, said the talk of the pub trade 'falling flat' was over-exaggerated.
“The large numbers closing may no longer fit the criteria of the major pub companies’ business model but they are extremely attractive propositions for private individuals, small local pub companies, or even the locals acquiring themselves.
“We sold 100 per cent of the pubs offered in our December sale and the signs are there will be similar interest this time round.”
The Queens Head, which has a guide price of £395,000, is described as 'having a tranquil position in a lovely village beside the Worcester and Birmingham Canal'.
It also has a restaurant, beer garden, private living accommodation and a large car park.
The Country Girl, which has a guide price of £295,000, is situated on a 2.75-acre site and has a restaurant area, large beer garden, spacious private living quarters and parking.
For more on the auction and the properties on offer, visit www.cpbigwood.com
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