Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Campaigners have re-ignited their bid to take control and re-open Huntingdon’s oldest pub – and are looking for skilled volunteers who can help make it happen.
Former punters are joining forces with councillors for Save The Falcon Hotel’s attempt to revive the Market Hill pub which closed in 2008.
The group, originally set up by Faye Linnell in 2011, is back on the campaign trail after it was announced in The Hunts Post that another potential buyer had pulled out of a deal to take on the Grade II-listed building.
Mrs Linnell, who is being supported by friend Berni Mueller, said the group would aim to sub-let the premises from lease holder Spirit Pub Company for a nominal fee and take on the considerable cost of refurbishing the premises.
Spirit said yesterday that “all potential operators would be considered, providing they go through our sales agent Fleurets”.
Mrs Linnell, 35, of Mayfield Crescent, Hartford, told The Hunts Post: “It’s something that I have been researching, it’s something that I’ve looked in to and the best way I think is to set up a Building Preservation Trust (BPT).
“I know it could be a huge success with the ideas that I have. I can’t see how anybody could disagree. It’s such a prominent building in the history of the town.”
There are around 180 BPTs across England – charitable organisations that are able to apply for grants from English Heritage to take on buildings at risk and find viable and long-term sustainable solutions for them.
Mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Bill Hensley is also keen to see the pub re-open and has offered his support. “It’s one of the oldest buildings in Huntingdon. When I first moved here 40 years ago it was a very busy little place, it was the pub on the market square – it’s such a shame,” he said.
“Something has got to be done because we’re losing our heritage in this country really quickly and pubs are shutting all the time. We can’t let The Falcon disappear.”
The pub, which dates back to the 1500s, is thought to be in a poor condition. It was placed on the ‘buildings at risk register’ by Huntingdonshire District Council in 2010 and at the last inspection in May, the local authority said “there were small areas of concern”.
HDC said its conservation team will take up the issues with Spirit next week.
INFORMATION: Save The Falcon Hotel group is appealing for people with experience in project managing, PR and advertising, website design, finance, construction, interior design, historical research, and hospitality or bar work to get involved with the campaign. E-mail email@example.com or visit the Facebook page by searching “Save the Falcon”.