UPDATED: STRETTON Parish Council has taken an important step towards protecting a tiny village pub which has become the first in Warrington to be registered as an asset of community value.
They have successfully applied for the historic Ring O Bells pub at Lower Stretton to be listed as an asset of community value – despite an objection from owners Red Oak Taverns.
While the listing does not prevent the building from being sold, or re-developed for another purpose, it means the owner must inform the local authority if it intends to sell the property and that any local group can hold up the proposed sale for six months while they attempt to raise the money to buy it.
The parish council argued that the Ring O Bells was the only community asset in Lower Stretton, relying on its value as a local meeting place and its reputation as a real ale pub using small, independent and usually local suppliers.
They claimed the pub had served the village for more than 170 years and was used by the local community for numerous activities include firework displays, Jubilee party, Mad Hatter’s tea party, Christmas Fayre, community daffodil planting project, etc.
Borough councillor Paul Kennedy supported the parish council’s application.
He said: “I think it is fair to stay that the Ring O Bells is a community asset that would only be missed after it had gone.”
Stretton Parish Councillor Jill Higgins, who led on the application said “We are thrilled that the application has been successful and that the local community will now have a say in the future of their local pub. It is so important that villagers have a place to come together and the Ring O’ Bells provides that for Lower Stretton.
Red Oak Taverns, who acquired the pub only last August, opposed the application. They argued that the lack of use of the pub by local people showed it was not a community asset and estimated that it sold only 70 barrels of beer a year, which was not sustainable.