Sale of Rose Hill Tavern spells trouble for campaign to save it

Posted On 11 Nov 2015 at 2:35 pm

The first pub in Brighton and Hove to be given special protection from redevelopment has been sold – but not to campaigners who wanted to reopen it as a community hub.

Rose Hill Tavern sold

An action group was formed to save the Brighton pub from redevelopment when it was sold by Enterprise Inns to developer Evenden Estates in May last year.

They successfully applied to Brighton and Hove City Council to get it listed as an asset of community value (ACV) – the city’s second after the Saltdean Lido, and its first pub.

And the listing was one factor in the council’s planning committee turning down Evenden Estates’s application to turn it into two flats last April.

Evenden then put it on the market, which under ACV rules triggered a six-month period in which the group attempted to raise the £365,000 asking price.

But the group says despite pledges, donations and a sale of shares it fell just £45,000 of the target.

The pub is now listed as sold, subject to contract on the website of specialist estate agents Fleurets.

However, group founder Richard James said this was not the end of the fight. He said: “Our aim is to get it reopened as a pub. So we will continue our fight to save this establishment.”

Fleurets negotiator Nick Earee says he is unable to give any details of who the pub has been sold to until contracts have been exchanged.

However, there were rumours that a pub company had expressed an interest in the boozer.

The Rose Hill Tavern’s ACV helped inspire a clutch of other groups to successfully get their neighbourhood pubs listed after they were also sold for development.

The Horse and Groom in Islingword Road, the Cuthbert in Freshfield Road and the Downsman in Hangleton are all now ACVs, with an appeal against the first being listed dismissed and appeals against the other two listings pending.

The Horse and Groom has not been sold to the community, but owner Craig Dwyer-Smith has leased it to a couple who are opening it as a licensed community cafe with live music. Village will open at the Islingword Road pub next month.

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