Tavern community campaign support in Gorebridge

Monday November 2nd 2020


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Hundreds of people have backed a bid to turn a pub which has been closed for four years into a ‘family-friendly’ community establishment.

The Hunterfield Tavern in Gorebridge is a Gothenburg pub set up to benefit the local community and run by The Hunterfield Tavern Gothenburg Trust.

However, it has not opened its doors as a pub for a number of years and the current tenant was recently granted retrospective planning permission to run a takeaway out of part of the building.

Now, campaigners have launched Save Gorebridge Heritage to urge trustees to look at options for the future of the building and return it to its community.

The findings of a survey by the group will be presented to a virtual meeting of Gorebridge Community Council next week.

Nearly 350 people took part in the survey, with 95 per cent backing a move to return the tavern to a community and family-friendly pub.

While two thirds of those who took part were aware that the tavern had been gifted to the community, nearly half of them were unaware that rental income from it was supposed to be given back to the local community and 97 per cent said the trust itself was not well advertised.

The tavern and neighbouring bakery are both run by the trust, with profits paid into registered charity Arniston Improvements Trust.

Many of those who took part in the survey pointed to the Dean Tavern in nearby Newtongrange, which successfully operates as a Gothenburg pub.

Some criticised the building as rundown and in need of maintenance, while others objected to the takeaway being allowed to operate in the building.

And there was support for the suggestion that the trust employ a bar manager to run the pub rather than leasing it out.

Last month, the trust insisted it was making decisions over the tavern in the best interest of the community, pointing out that the takeaway would not be operating alone and would have a bar and restaurant in the main part of the building.

A spokesperson said: “Success of the project would allow us to maximise the income achieved on a long-term basis, which will allow us to distribute funds to the many voluntary organisations within our community.

“We recognise that not everyone will agree with the choice we have made, but we did so in what we believe is the best interests of the organisations that benefit from our support.”

Cath McGill, Gorebridge Community Council chairperson, said that trustees were due to meet with the community council at its meeting next week, in a meeting which is not expected to be open to the public.

She said that the community council had been contacted over the last few years by many locals concerned about the state of the tavern building and pub closure.

The community council meets on Monday, November 9.

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