Villagers refuse to call time on two of Berkhamsted's historic pubs

Bid to save The Plough and Martins Pond in Potten End

Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 11:35 am

Freeholders of two pubs in Potten End, Berkhamsted, have both put in planning applications for change of use from pub status to residential.

Known as a traditional boozer, The Plough pub is designated as an asset of community value, while Martins Pond is known for its restaurant quality food and location opposite the village pond. Both are located in Potten End's conservation area.

Villagers have been quick to respond forming a Community Plough campaign group while the parish council has advised planners at Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) it will not support a change of use application for The Plough.

The Plough in Potten End

CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale has also thrown its support behind The Plough campaign which has not only created its own websitebut has its own ‘SAVE THE PLOUGH’ anthem penned and performed by Potten End folk musician Martin Davies.

Local residents have formed a steering committee to put forward an expression of interest to Dacorum Borough Council with the intention to raise the capital needed to purchase the freehold of the property, undertake a programme of refurbishment and open The Plough as a community pub.

A spokesperson for the group said: “What this will look like as we enter the post-Covid-19 new normal remains to be seen but, should Dacorum accept our expression of interest we will have six months to put plans together, consult with local residents, raise capital through the sale of shares in the new business or through donations, fund-raising, and crowd funding activities."

Evidence from The Plunkett Foundation reveals community pubs are a more resilient form of business and the survival rate of community pubs reflect this.

Since the first community pub opened in 2004 none have yet closed, representing a 100% success rate.

Villager Sarah Lowther is backing the campaign, she said: "I think it is bad timing, after COVID-19 everybody will want to go for a drink, and if both of these pubs go we will have nowhere to go in the village.

"The freeholders are not from round here, and I don't think the knew how important the pub is to us.

"What has been positive is the support from the village. Hopefully we can continue to run the Plough as a pub."

Potten End villagers refuse to let their village run dry. Objections to The Plough’s change of use proposal can be made until June 17, on the Dacorum Borough Council planning portal.