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Pub sale gives new hope to campaigners

The Garden Gate pub has been bought by a new pub company following fears that it may be sold and replaced with retail or housing

The Friends of The Garden Gate pub

A group that fought to save an Aldershot pub from closure could be ‘changing tactics’ now that the venue has been bought by a new pub company.

The Garden Gate pub, in Church Lane East, was put up for sale after former landlady Cally Brown chose not to renew her contract , which expired on March 31.

Regulars at the pub grouped together to fight for the venue to continue as a pub, following fears that pub owners Greene King could decide to replace it with housing or a convenience store.

The group, known as the Friends of the Garden Gate, successfully fought for the pub to be registered as an Asset of Community Value by Rushmoor Borough Council on April 1, and planned to put a bid together to buy the pub.

The status means should the pub be put up for sale, local groups can ask for this to be suspended for six months so they can make a bid and raise funds to buy the asset. However, the Garden Gate has since been sold to pub company Hawthorn Leisure, which has confirmed it will continue to operate the premises as pub.

The Friends are due to meet this evening to discuss their future plans now the pub has been sold.

Linda Robins, a member of the group, said: “We knew Hawthorn Leisure had bought a number of pubs but we weren’t sure if the Garden Gate was one of them, that information is very important. I am very pleased.

“If they have secured the pub’s future the group would be wrong to try to get in the way of that, the important thing is for the Garden Gate to continue running as a pub.

“Providing that Hawthorn Leisure would be able to guarantee it continues to run as a community pub and people of all ages feel comfortable coming to the pub, it would be unwise for us to try to pre-empt what they will do with it.

“The group is still active and were in the process of getting a business plan together but we might need to change our tactics, it would make sense to stall on that and get some sort of dialogue going with Hawthorn Leisure.”

The Beehive, in High Street, also faced an uncertain future as Greene King confirmed in January that the pub was ‘under review’, however, the premises has also been sold to Hawthorn Leisure.

A spokesperson for Greene King said: “We have secured the future of the Garden Gate and the Beehive, with their sale to Hawthorn Leisure, which will continue to operate them as pubs.

“The sale is part of a wider scale sale across the country where we have sold 275 tenanted pubs to Hawthorn Leisure.”

 

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