ON The Charlton Champion blog:
|Pic credit ChrisWhippet640 Charlton Champion|
And there is a change in the law coming, it’s called the Market Rent Only option for Tied Tenants and I’m one of the people who helped make that happen. I’m also one of the people on the White Swan steering committee. We were stymied by Punch selling the WS freehold, apparently ‘as a going concern’ to get around the Asset of Community Value strictures which I am absolutely sure would have been open to legal challenge if we had any resources other than voluntary to put into the pot before we began fund raising for the money to put an offer in on behalf of the Charlton Community.
The White Swan as it is certainly is NOT a going concern – with a Holding Company operating it it’s absolutely clear that a Coach and Horses has been driven through the legislation that is supposed to protect pubs in these circumstances and allow the locals to ‘save’ them. What kind of company would buy the White Swan as a ‘going concern’ without expecting to shut it and then spend at least half a million quid on it making it fit for purpose as a pub again? Scepticism aside there are precedents for a pub company taking on such a pub in such parlous state and making it work properly – the Tulse Hill Tavern is one recent such foray; Was Enterprise Inns' tied leased, run into the ground, tenants defeated, Enterprise put it on the market for a couple of £million and Metropolitan Pub Company (http://www.metropolitanpubcompany.com/ aka Greene King) bought it and turned it round into something half decent although their long range of ales is extensively odd… IF they are the people who bought WS then HOORAY but I doubt it somehow. It just doesn’t smell right. Something fishy is going on there I reckon. Hope to be proved wrong.
As for the Bugle Horn? Now there is a Pub with ENORMOUS potential. If it were not tied it would be a very different situation. Their ham eggs and chips are great value by the way. The family who’ve owned a lease on the pub and run it for a very long time don’t deserve to be in the situation they’re in. But like thousands of publicans before them and all over the country they had the misfortune to be caught up in the work of a bunch of asset stripping white collar criminals who don’t give a toss about pubs or anything other than money. There’s possibly even more pent up potential at the Bugle Horn than there is at the White Swan but as a toxic Punch Taverns’ lease assignment? Barge Poles. Punch is poison.