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Villagers stage protest after future of pub thrown into doubt

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 14, 2014

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A LANDLORD has said he will have to be ‘carried out’ of his pub after rumours surfaced that it could be about to close.

Dozens of people joined a protest in Overseal after Steve Lewis was informed the end could be near for the Robin Hood, which has been a fixture of the village for around 300 years.

Some 1,600 people have also returned forms pledging their support.

The pub, in Burton Road, was among 200 that Marston’s sold to property firm New River last year.

It was subsequently leased back to Marston’s, but it has now been claimed New River is looking to let the building to another company, with a supermarket and housing developer said to be in the frame.

New River was coy about any potential change, saying a review of its properties was under way, but no decision had yet been made on the Robin Hood.

But landlord Mr Lewis said he has been told a planning application for the pub is expected to be submitted in September.

He said the loss of the pub would be ‘catastrophic’ for Overseal.

Mr Lewis said: “It is a community pub, it is used by many different organisations. The nursery, football team, running club - there are six or seven clubs that meet here.

“They need to realise that this is a local community pub. It is a very profitable pub which employs quite a few people. It is very rare that this would happen to a pub like ours.”

A defiant Mr Lewis said villagers would do everything in their power to keep the Robin Hood in Overseal.

He said: “They’ll have to carry us out. In a day and a half, we had 1,600 forms returned to us. To have that many people take the time and trouble the bring them in is amazing.

“We have been in pubs for 32 years and this is the best one. To have to end it like this would destroy us.”

A spokesman for New River said: “A review of all the properties in the portfolio is currently under way and there are no firm plans at present for the Robin Hood. As and when the position becomes clearer, New River will be consulting with individual tenants and as a matter of course will take into account the views of the local community.”

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