Campaign to save pub gains new momentum

EFFORTS to bring The Britannia Inn back into use as a pub and focal point for community activities have gained new momentum.

A campaign was launched earlier this year to gather support for buying the empty pub on Bath Road, Wells – which is for sale with a guide price of £350,000 – refurbishing it and reopening it as a community hub. Now a steering group has been formed to explore ways in which these aims might be achieved.

Meanwhile, Wells City Council has submitted a revised Asset of Community Value application to Somerset Council which if granted would protect The Britannia Inn from being sold or demolished for six months, giving the community time to try to raise the funds to buy the pub.

The Brit, as it is affectionately known, closed in June 2021 when Rob and Karen Rouse, who had run it for 35 years, retired. It is being marketed by the Caldecotte Group, which has held at least one viewing day for prospective buyers in the past few months.

Councillor Theo Butt Philip is leading the campaign to save The Britannia Inn for the community. He said: “Resubmitting the application is a key stage in the process of getting The Brit into community ownership and, ultimately, back up and running as a community pub. But this is just the start – now it’s vital for the steering group to grow and to tap into the wealth of talent within our community which we will need it we are to make this project a success.”

A first Asset of Community Value application was returned by the council with a request for more supporting information, which has now been provided. This includes details of the Save the Brit online petition which has been signed by 230 people. Others can still add their name to the petition at

The initial members of the steering group are Cllr Butt Philip and fellow Wells residents Ian Ames-White, Andy Vallis and Mark O’Callaghan, but more people are expected to become involved.

The group will see what practical steps can be taken to further the project’s aims, and they have made contact with other community groups that have successfully saved their local pub, such as the Alhampton Inn and the Hop Pole at Limpley Stoke, to see what can be learned. They have also been in touch with the Plunkett Foundation, which provides business support to community organisations, and have begun researching other funding opportunities.

A number of offers of practical and financial support towards saving The Britannia Inn have already been made by local residents, and anyone else who would like to support the campaign is invited to get in touch by emailing