A CONSULTATION has begun to gauge the level of support in Wells for plans to buy and reopen The Britannia Inn on Bath Road as a community-owned pub.
The pub has been empty for more than two years and is currently up for sale with the Caldecotte Group with a guide price of £350,000.
Wells City Council has submitted an Asset of Community Value application for the pub 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 steering group that has been set up and is looking into how to achieve community ownership of the pub is inviting residents to complete a questionnaire about whether they would use the pub if it reopened, what they think it should offer, and whether they are willing to help with the community ownership project financially or in other ways.
The questionnaire can be found on page 25 of the January 2024 edition of Wells Voice. More information about community-owned pubs in general is on page 24.
Councillor Theo Butt Philip, one of the members of the steering group, said: “It’s fantastic that we’ve had so much interest in the campaign in the past month. With the Asset of Community Value application now with Somerset Council for consideration, now is the time when we have to start putting together our plans for the next steps – details of what we would do with The Britannia and how we will raise the necessary money. The Brit was a really special part of the community in this part of Wells and I hope with the levels of support we’ve seen for the campaign, that we’ll be able to make it a flourishing community hub once again.”
More than 270 people have signed the ‘Save the Brit’ petition at change.org/p/save-the-brit, and more than 20 attended a public meeting in St Thomas’ Church Hall in the early stages of the campaign.
As well as funds to buy the pub, a lot more money will be required for refurbishment work.
The steering group is linking up with other community initiatives and organisations to see what opportunities there are to work together; these include St Thomas’ Church, which recently conducted its own survey about how to best to spend money left in a legacy, for the benefit of the church and the wider community.
Completed Britannia Inn questionnaires can be left at Wells Town Hall or Wells Library, pushed through the letterbox of the St Thomas’ Church Office, or posted to Wells Town Hall, BA5 2RB. The questionnaire can also be completed online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TheBritWells
The closing date for responses is Friday, January 19, 2024. A public meeting will be organised at some point after this to communicate the results of the consultation and allow for more discussion of the project.