I often wonder why Marston’s sell off seemingly good community pubs to New River retail (I think I have just answered my own question) whereas out in the sticks locals with less trade appear to be safe from their axe.
Take Church Broughton for example: A lovely little village in Derbyshire with the following amenities for their (approximately) 615 residents.
A tennis club, a primary school, a golf club, a church (with six bells that are rung on occasions) and…much to my delight…a pub.
It seems pretty well served for sporting opportunities with both tennis and golf but if that doesn’t tickle your fancy then there are a darts and cribbage team that plays out of the pub in the Uttoxeter & District Men’s League.
So, to all intents and purposes, it is a leafy village that is thriving and the pub would appear to be at the fulcrum of all things Church Broughton.
However, when I popped into the 75- Holly Bush DE65 5AS at 4pm on a Saturday, arguably a good time for pub life, it was tumbleweed town.
Don’t get me wrong it had a good fire on the go and the barman was a friendly character whilst it was also serving Wainwrights (Thwaites) as well as Pedigree but I’m not sure it has the client base to run two ales. My pint was decent enough and at £3.50 middle of the road pricing but I’d be interested to know how many they’d sold that day.
There were two other locals aside from me who were chatting in the bar and it was clean, warm and friendly and a welcome sight as I have seen bigger villages than this without a school or a pub.
So it’s a massive plus that the pub is still going and maybe Marston’s deserve more credit for ensuring it is still going although I suspect a hard working landlord is the driving force.
It is clear that a community like Church Broughton, which has the demographics and disposable income to support a pub, wants to keep the focal point of their spread out village intact.
However, I am sure that is the case in other regions of the Midlands too but, quite often, decisions are made that make running some tied pubs almost impossible.
Nevertheless, I hope the good people of the darts, cribbage and tennis club all use this otherwise it will be golf club only and that has a ‘dress code’ which implies to me that NOT everyone is welcome.
All are welcome at The Holly Bush and it is a nice little boozer tucked away in a small village…Use it or lose it as community life will never quite be the same without it.