Newbury - West Berkshire Council selling freehold of the Starting Gate
Because of the ruckus that has developed over the use of the car park at the Starting Gate, by parents of pupils at Robert Sandilands school, it has emerged that West Berkshire Council has agreed in principle to sell the freehold of the site of the pub to Punch Taverns.
Could this be the future demise of the Starting Gate?
Once they own the freehold,there is the possibility that Punch Taverns will close the pub and sell the land to a building developer.
Punch Taverns had a major financial crisis during 2014, from which they recovered. Selling off a prime site like this would certainly have aided their recovery if they had owned the freehold at the time.
I wouldn't be surprised because these days it would be pretty difficult to make a traditional pub work at that site. Newbury could probably go with another Carvery type pub - but that would mean a biggish change and would the neighbours like that too much? I can't see why the Council is the landlord anyway, presumably a hang over from the Council House days.
The issue with school run mums using the car park is separate really. Why should they? Even if the Council own the land, that doesn't give them any 'rights' to park there, if it does, I'll leave my motor in Viccy Park next time I'm in town. Actually, I've every sympathy with the Mums, but it's the schools that need to get their act together. Why haven't they put in drop off points etc., they have enough land. Now a consistent failure to do that is boneheaded planning for sure.
This has been received from Richard Pask who is the Partner Development Manager at Punch Taverns:
"Can you please remove the post in regards to the car park at the Starting Gate.
The information that has been posted is inaccurate and unless the facts are provided does not provide a true reflection of the scenario.
Punch Taverns not either Claire or Shelly are responsible for the access in the car park, no formal or in-formal agreement has ever been in place for the use of this car park. The parents are not insured to use the car park, Punch Taverns have attempted to make contact to arrange meetings with the school and the Governors who have not responded to the meeting. Due to this lack of contact Punch Taverns have been left with no other course of action than to proceed in this way which is being managed by a third party who is patrolling the use of the car park.
Punch Tavern have also provided plans to install a car park in the school facilities at Punch Taverns costs not that of the school or the council. Punch Taverns will not be redeveloping the site into flats or housing however will be enhancing the local amenities which will also include a refurbishment to the Starting Gate. The purchase of the freehold will provide West Berkshire Council the money to enhance the school facilities to provide the school it's own car park which will then alleviate the perceived problem with the issues that are being had. To state aggressive and negative comments is not fair and dangerous and is slander against the pub and the facts."
Quote from: Administrator on February 28, 2015, 02:02:53 am
Punch Taverns not either Claire or Shelly are responsible for the access in the car park, no formal or in-formal agreement has ever been in place for the use of this car park.
Well that's not true as the parents were kicked out the car park about three years ago in similar circumstances, when a pay and display scheme was introduced for a short period and signs went up saying offenders would be ticketed (or wheel clamped). (I think some local pressure was brought to bear on the landlord in the end from his regular punters and that scheme was scrapped, but it focussed parents attention to the fact they were on private land.
That's a pretty generous solution from the pub; any reaction from the school?
Bottom line? Now that the flats are gone (along with their smack-head clientele) the Gate is looking to re-launch itself as a slightly more up-market Tavern to attract the incoming David Wilson residents. That's why Punch are shelling out now. It's a gamble though.
Just found this doing a Google search. In reply to Punch Taverns, who posted through Admin. I can 100% confirm there was at least an informal agreement with the landladies for parents to park there. We held our PTA meetings int he pub and they used to come discuss the parking arrangements and had even agreed that they would put up 'customer only' signs on the spaces immediately to the front of the pub, and parents could park in the rest. There was also a discussion about painting the lines around those designated spaces in a red colour. So yes, there was at least some formal parking arrangement with Shelly and Claire.
I found Punch Taverns planning application particularly wreckless when they suggested no road improvements were needed to the junction. I find that statement completely moronic, considering that section of the A4 is a major through route used by commuters who will inevitably enter via the Brummel Road/A4 junction, and also attempt to exit by these means, causing delays for users leaving the car park and thus using the rest of Brummel Rd as a rat run.
And let's not forget the impact of noise and pollution on the residents immediately bordering the car park. Speen is sufficiently serviced by existing amenities. Punch Taverns are trying to make a quick buck. But Punch do not yet own the land.
Again, what's wrong with the school having a drop off point installed. After all it is 2016 not 1956! Most people have cars these days and there are very few buses in Newbury. OK, walk, but many do already. I'd also have a lot more sympathy with that argument if we saw more of the staff walk too.
Quote from: one_watcher on February 11, 2016, 06:38:29 pm
I found Punch Taverns planning application particularly wreckless when they suggested no road improvements were needed to the junction. I find that statement completely moronic
Is your comment in relation to them applying for a shop on the site of the car park? The size of the shop will attract no more traffic than what already takes place at peak times of school drop-off and pick-up by parents. There can be upwards of 50 cars turning up at times with parents dropping off kids in a rush and they somehow seem to have managed to get back out onto the A4. Not sure why the dribble of cars caused by shoppers would make that much of a difference.