Coxbench is a tiny village situated next to Little Eaton in Derbyshire and is doing remarkably well to retain a village pub.
It doesn’t have a huge amount of chimney pots but there are enough to keep it going with its close proximity to Little Eaton and Holbrook and with a bit of council support it could really thrive.
This blog veers away from politics in general and I don’t align myself with any particular party but, I’ve always believed, we should run a subsidised transport system.
Partly because I live in the middle of nowhere, I realise just how difficult it is to stop yourself becoming isolated if you are immobile, don’t have a car and public transport is non-existent.
However, if you are a politician who lives in London with undoubtedly the best, and most subsidised transport system in Britain, then all is good with the world.
If you live in a Derbyshire backwater though, then the rug can be pulled from underneath you in order to please shareholders, stakeholders and chief executives.
Take 209 – Fox And Hounds DE21 5BA for example. My pal and I popped in at around 9.00 on a Wednesday evening and we were the only people in here apart from the gaffer, her hubby and a magnificent Russian Terrier.
(my pal saying hello to a large terrier!)
The Russian Terrier is stereotypically big and scary but a real teddy bear underneath and was bought from the shores of Ireland as opposed to downtown Moscow.
The pub has a rather imposing mock Tudor exterior and was Derby Food and Drink Award Winners as recently as 2016 and it is a pub with a long linear bar.
However, it retains the feel of a solid boozer with food as opposed to a restaurant and we both had a pint of 61 Deep (Marston’s), which was in great form and the landlady was very chatty.
Sometimes, you can go into a pub and the atmosphere is welcoming and this place had it in spades despite being relatively empty whilst the Bee Gees were on in the background singing their Staying Alive classic.
It seemed somewhat apt that this tune was on in the background (The Dave Clark Five followed on) and the landlady was happy to tell us the challenges facing a country pub.
“We have a lot of locals here and used to have a lot more people coming here on the bus, as the bus stop is outside the pub,” she said.
“We used to run beer festivals and people would come on the bus, have a few drinks, and then go home on the bus,”
However, despite the fact the pub fought the cost cutting decision, along with locals, Derbyshire councillors decided it would be a good idea to stop the bus service as it was (probably) running at a loss.
“People don’t come here as much now because they can’t get the bus which means there is less trade. Also, we have lost staff because they can’t get the bus to work and parents won’t always drop staff here who haven’t got cars.”
Aaaaaaaaarrgggghhhhhhh! How short-sighted is this approach!! Even if you charged every pensioner £10 for their bus passes in perpetuity then I am pretty sure that tax alone would enable bus services to run at a loss and ensure great swathes of our ageing population could travel and support the local economy as opposed to being housebound.
I’m pretty sure my parents would pay £10 per year forever to use the bus and, conversely, more people might use it if they had paid for it to get their money’s worth!
I get really frustrated by this as I am sure all parties would want an economy that thrives and one where people of all ages are able to access remote areas as opposed to just big cities.
The pub itself was great with good beer, beermats, a knowledgeable landlady and a really well kept boozer.
However, if we continue to isolate country pubs then don’t be surprised to see an increase in expensive houses replacing pubs full of people with multiple cars not using bus services…