About The Hare Update
The objectives of the Save the Hare Committee were to save the Hare from developers and restore a thriving family pub. Asset of Community Value status kept it off the market for a crucial six months. At the same time proposals were being developed to build 85 houses on the nearby Greensands and Mather House sites, as well as further dramatic plans in Pye Homes 3. Similar interest was initially shown in the Hare site.
As the Asset of Community Value status period ended, we understood why Greene King had batted away our purchase proposal, when the pub was bundled into a large deal as part of GK’s acquisition of the Spirit Pub group. A condition of this transaction was that the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) required GK to divest themselves of 16 pubs to competitors, who would be obliged to run them as pubs. The divestiture is being supervised by the CMA with whom the Committee has established good relations. The CMA will monitor The Hare’s future operation as a pub.
Most of these pubs (including The Hare) were bought by Star Pubs and Bars, a division of Heineken UK which is based in Edinburgh and Newcastle, and is looking to grow its business further in the south of England. They have invested in turnaround pubs before and have committed £30m to pub refurbishment this year, so it maybe that we can now achieve our objectives without risking our investors’ money.
We have made contact with Star Pubs & Bars who have indicated that they would be happy to share plans with us and listen to the views of the community in due course. We are looking forward to meeting them and hope that they can create a great village pub.
The ‘Save the Hare’ website will continue for the time being and we will keep you informed of progress re the Hare as things develop. We will also include some updates in the West Hendred Newsletter and village email, as before. We would like to thank everyone who pledged support and investment to the potential purchase of The Hare and trust that this will not be needed in the future. We would also like to recognise Ed Vaizey’s help in communication with GK on our behalf.
If you would like to support community-owned pubs in our area of Oxfordshire do try them out. The Plough at West Hanney, the Seven Stars at Marsh Baldon and the Red Lion at Northmoor are all doing well – and The Greyhound at Letcombe Regis has recently been re-opened as a community pub. Meanwhile, The Plough in East Hendred, The Fox in Steventon and The Packhorse at Milton Hill are also newly owned by Star Pubs and Bars.