Fight to save Downsman pub from developers is launched

Posted On 11 Mar 2015 at 8:43 am

Another campaign has been launched to save a neighbourhood pub from development.

Downsman pub. Picture taken from

Downsman pub. Picture taken from

The Downsman in Hangleton is the latest pub in the city to be put on the market by Enterprise Inns, and regulars fear it will become housing.

Following the lead of the Rose Hill Tavern and Horse and Groom, they have asked Brighton and Hove City Council to declare it an asset of community value (ACV) which would delay the sale and allow them to put together a bid to buy and run it themselves.

Campaign secretary Peter Clarke said: “There is considerable concern in the Hangleton neighbourhood that this Hangleton pub and site may be lost to community use, and developed for commercial gain.

“A campaign group has therefore been formed, under the name Save the Downsman.

“We have submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council a nomination of the pub and site as an Asset of Community Value, in order to pursue the matter through the Community Right to Bid. A local Community Land Trust initiative is interested in taking on stewardship.”

A spokesperson for Enterprise Inns said: “Unfortunately, footfall from regular customers at The Downsman has fallen to an unsustainably low level in recent years, leading to the current publican deciding to seek the assignment of his lease.

“Considerable effort to find a new publican to take on the long-term lease of this pub has been made over the last 12 months, through both our own website and external agents.

“However, the level of interest received from potential new publicans has been disappointingly low, with no viable offers received.

“It is these factors that have led to the freehold of the property being placed on the open market, with no restrictions on future use.”

  1. Jason Reply

    It is a shame lovely pub but the drinks cost far to much.

  2. Rostrum Reply

    Enterprise Inns seem to have a policy of buying loads of pubs in an area, running down those that see a surplus and then cashing them in.

    They seem to be in-fact a property management and development enterprise rather than a pub\entertainment business.

    Makes you wonder how long before ALL their pubs are sold for re-development.

    If I’m wrong ( Ha ) then Enterprise Inns need to actively promote and build these small pubs and gain a profit that way.

    There “it’s not our fault” attitude is bogus.

    • Hugh Robinson Reply


      You are pretty near the mark on this one.
      Brent Walker who owned the Brighton Marina once, also owned a fruit/games machine business and when about 300 Pubs came up for sale they thought they would make a killing with masses of these machines in the pubs. Sadly a large number of the pubs were in poor areas or out in the wilds with little trade. Both ventures were a disaster and Brent Walker went bankrupt.
      Enterprise borrowed very heavily to increase their pubs portfolio. So they need to service this debt and the only way is to extract as much as they can out of the Landlords Unfortunately many of these pub sales are “job lots” and you cannot pick and chose. You buy the lot.Including pubs that make very little profit The poor Landlords often are faced with not only very high rents ,but have to sign agreements to buy all their stock
      from the owners. This means all the mixers and snacks.
      Often due to special offers and BOGOF’s in supermarkets and even wholesalers the Landlord finds that he could buy these at half the price he is paying the Pub Owner. So drinks are expensive and the pubs go empty and close. Most councils desperate to build new flats and houses will allow pub sites which often have good car parks and garden space to be built on. Sadly this is happening all over the Country.

      • Kelvin Healey Reply

        That is absolutely how it works Hugh. My sister lost the Windmill in Southwick on thebasis that she had to but from the pub owner. It just isn’t possible to run a pub that way and the owners know it.

  3. Dale Reply

    Pub had odd inconsistent hours.
    Could not use cards
    And not very welcoming unless you are a local.
    Hopefully someone-the current landlord or a new owner is able to turn it into a community pub that could benefit the area.

  4. eileen oleary Reply

    Hangleton was a medieval village formerly. I personally would like to see a temporary homeless village and be a forerunner to self builds out of recyclable materials, teaching elements of straw bale housing, hob housing, pallet builds… endless list of possibilities, giving education on projects to provide training/work, housing and a community of entrepreneurism in self help. Ps. based on Btn Uni’s Waste house/ eco homes/shipping container (temporary and portable homes/BHT ) Greenwich Uni’s student accommodation pods.. also at StPats, Cambridge rd. pre Prime minister days ,Cameron posed in one..Japanese lorry parks have splendid pods these days..As a basic Human Right…all Homelessness needs to be abolished please…as in old times serfs bondaged to masters now need freedom to have a decent home at the very least…. any ideas…I will start funds and give time to it tomorrow/ asap Ps there is a burial site from Plague days so need alternatives to common infrastructure/ foundations

  5. lyn penfold Reply

    I moved back up here just over a year ago but lived here and went to infant and junior school here. My nan and grandad lived in barnet way and my grandad worked in the pub for many years. I have lots of lovely memory of times spent there like Christmas and new years and it was always busy, its a lovely pub but the few times we have been in over the last year its been empty 🙁 you need to put in effort these days but it could be a lovely pub again if the effort was put in. I would be very sad to see it gone.

  6. A Reply

    Maybe a more family friendly establishment would suit . Being as it is a family residential area .

    • John Smith Reply

      One of the reasons that many pubs are closing is that too many squawking babies and children are being taken in. I know many people who will not go into pubs now because of this. Please keep your children out of pubs.

  7. neil Reply

    I know some one who had great plans for this pub but they wont get the chance because independent interest will always loose out to larger company’s.. Thos pun could have been an amazing pub for family’s, dogs and friends and the garden was to become something special.. Shame

  8. neil Reply

    Can people keep me informed as if another company comes forward I can get them a proposal that would be a profitable honest business and create a day out for the family or a local public house with a modern twist

  9. yvonne Reply

    The owners are lovely people and the foods
    great drinks are dear but theres no atmosphere,they have no entertainment,also thr darts team packed up,if it wasnt for the few locals and people have their wakes there its a very quite pub,and the opening hours are wierd

  10. Joseph Reply

    Opening times where stupid , no music , no t.v food choice was crap , beer over priced . It’s not hard to have a decent menu suited for kids and adults , a decent outside area include kids play area , get the venue booked out for weddings etc

  11. Tracey Reply

    I use to live in hangleton years ago.My dad uses it every day and would be lost without it as he 83 now and it’s in easy walking distance for him.I use to go there as a child and use the off licence which use to sell sweets and pop.The good old days.Lets hope this pub stays as many local people will miss it very much.It would be a great shame if it is to be built on.I know times change but let’s just keep what people enjoy for a change.

  12. rik Reply

    It’s my nearest pub but I don’t really have an interest in going to a bar with like one vodka onec rubbish gin and one horrible navy rum to choose from. It’s a nice building if it was done up with more choice of food and some sport on tv it would be great no one wants to see it knocked down for flats

  13. Stella Reply

    Actually can not believe they are trying to do this.. i used to run The Downsman My self with my husband nearly 20 years ago and I have to say it was The best pub we ever had & the customers were not just customers they became our friends, we had some good times in that place & met some lovely people. I haven’t seen it advertised if I had then we would of spoken to enterprise. The Downsman is a community public house. It’s a great place.It will always be special.
    To knock it down for housing….shocking!!!!

  14. Stella Reply

    Can not believe they are doing this!!!! This pub is amazing…myself & my husband ran The Downsman nearly 20 years ago and it was The best pub we have ever had! I have not seen this advertised otherwise I would of called enterprise.
    The Downsman is not just a pub, I met some of the nicest people I know whilst running there, the people are lovely we had some great times and they became our friends.
    To knock her down for housing is absolutely shocking!!!!!!

  15. Daniel Harris Reply

    Hi Im interested in getting into contact with the group save the downsman, I am sceptical about this and other planned demolitions which seem to be targeting community spaces in favour of developments which do not meet the needs of the community.

  16. Ray Reply

    The previous owners gave up the pub as they were in their 60s and the owners would not agree to less than a 15 year lease with big penalties for leaving before the end of it.

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