Village in Milton Keynes loves its only pub so much it wants to make sure it keeps it

A village bid to protect the pub it loves so much has been accepted by a top councillor.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 3:45 pm

Organisations including parish councils have a right to nominate pubs and other businesses as assets of community value, and Old Woughton Parish Council re-nominated Ye Olde Swan, in Woughton-on-the-Green, Milton Keynes.

The law, which gives community groups the chance to bid if buildings are sold, only holds for five years. Protected status for Ye Olde Swan was due to run out in January next year, prompting the parish to submit the paperwork.

The current owners of the inn, Hertford-based brewer and pub company McMullen and Sons, had argued that there was no need to include the pub’s car park.

Ye Olde Swan, Woughton on the Green

But at a delegated decisions meeting on Tuesday, December 10, the lead councillor, Moriah Priestley (Lab, Central MK) agreed with her officers’ recommendation to list the property and the car park as an asset of community value.

Parish council clerk Julian Vischer, in his submission to the borough, said: “Despite the trend for public houses failing, Ye Olde Swan in Woughton-on-the-Green continues to be a thriving and successful community local business and a core community asset.

“It has a key role in the social well-being of the community in providing the opportunity for social interaction and engagement.”

The decision, if it is ratified after a call in period, will mean that McMullen and Sons will have to notify Milton Keynes Council if they intend to sell the pub.

If that happens, community groups will then be given six weeks to express an interest in buying it.

If an expression of interest is received, a further six month moratorium period is triggered to allow interested groups to prepare and submit a bid. But it does not compel the owner to sell to any particular bidder, or at all.

If owners of assets of community value sell a site without informing the council, the sale becomes void, the meeting on Tuesday was told.