Village pub’s future in limbo

CONCERNS over the future of a village pub have been raised as the brewery who own the premises seek a new licensee.

The Motte & Bailey in Great Green, Pirton, is one of two pubs remaining in the village and owner Punch Taverns has been looking for a new tenant for the last month.

Current manager Mark Woodward has offered to fill the void on a temporary basis.

Mr Woodward said: “I sent them an email asking if they wanted me to run it until they find a tenant and they rang up at the last minute and agreed.

“I can’t take up the tenancy though as it’s just not viable.”

Judy MacDonald, manager at Pirton’s only other pub, The Fox, which is also owned by Punch Taverns, said: “I think the village needs to keep two pubs.

“I’ve known Mark for a long time and I hope he can come to an arrangement.

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“Punch Taverns have the rent too high and because of this it’s not viable.

“We’ve always helped each other out and that’s what people should do.”

Chairman of Pirton Parish Council David Saunders said: “It would be sad to see the pub go. We’ve had four or five close one by one over the last 30 years which is always a shame but if there’s not the market for it that can happen.”

A spokesman from Punch Taverns said: “The Motte & Bailey is currently being run by a temporary operator whilst we are actively recruiting a new licensee, and look forward to working closely in partnership to build a successful, sustainable business.

“If any entrepreneurial readers are interested in this opportunity, they should speak to our recruitment team on 0844 848 3279.”