Strong backing for reopening The Brit

NINETY per cent of people who responded to a consultation on plans to buy and reopen The Britannia Inn as a community-owned pub say that it is important or very important to have a local pub in East Wells.

There were more than 300 responses to the questionnaire that appeared in Wells Voice and online inviting views on the future of the empty pub on Bath Road. In response to a question about a range of possible additional services people would like to see the pub offer, there was most support for catering – with Sunday lunch the most favoured option – followed by live music and a function room.

The Britannia Inn, which is for sale with a guide price of £350,000, was registered as an Asset of Community Value in January by Somerset Council. There is an opportunity for the community to put forward a bid for the pub, and a steering group led by Councillor Theo Butt Philip has started the process of trying to achieve this aim.

The consultation was part of the attempt to gauge the level of community support for the project, and as well as backing for the plans in general, dozens of people said that they would be willing to help the venture by fundraising, making donations or buying shares. The number of people on the steering group has increased as a result of people volunteering to join it through the consultation.

A Community Benefit Society is in the process of being established (the East Wells Community Benefit Society), and the group has been registered by Somerset Council as a potential bidder for The Brit – as it is affectionately known – following the submission of an ‘expression of interest’ in buying the pub.

The council has advised the landowner that the full six-month moratorium period has now been activated. This means that East Wells Community Benefit Society has until August 7 to submit an offer to the owner to purchase the property.

The East Wells group has also joined the Plunkett Foundation, which provides valuable support for community businesses, and has a new email address for getting in touch:

A public meeting and a share offer are being planned.

The Britannia Inn is part of the Wellington Pub Company estate. The Wellington Pub Company is owned by Reuben Brothers.