‘The Falcon is part of Huntingdon’s history’

HUNTINGDON’S oldest pub could be throwing its doors open once more if a Facebook campaign to save the Falcon Tavern is successful.

HUNTINGDON’S oldest pub could be throwing its doors open once more if a Facebook campaign to save The Falcon is successful.

More than 250 people have joined a group on the social networking site, and organisers are appealing for support and suggestions in their campaign.

One of Huntingdon’s historic landmarks, the Grade II-listed building is more than 400 years old but has been empty since December 2008 as leaseholders Punch �Taverns look for someone to take over the building.

Faye Linnell started the Facebook group ‘Save the �Falcon’ four weeks ago to raise awareness of the historic building’s plight, and gathered more than 100 supporters in the first week.

Mrs Linnell, of Mayfield Crescent, Huntingdon, used to use the Falcon. She said: “It’s a crime that it has been left shut all these years. It is a building of historic importance, not just for Huntingdon, but for the UK as a whole.

“If it is run correctly and with some imagination, The Falcon could thrive.

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“We need to save the building. If enough people raise their concerns then surely we can do something.

“The Falcon has been here since Huntingdon has been here – why should it be left to rot?”

Punch Taverns said in 2009 that it was looking for someone to take on the building, which includes a three-bedroomed flat, on a 10, 15 or 20-year lease, but Ms �Linnell is concerned that irreparable damage may be done to the building if it remains empty.

The idea of reopening the pub was met with �immediate enthusiasm on Facebook, with supporters making �innovative suggestions for the building’s future.

Sarah Stammler, who lives in nearby Ferrars Court, had looked into taking over the pub before she found out about Ms Linnell and her Facebook group, and the two have joined forces.

Ms Stammler said The Falcon did not have to be limited to just a pub, and could play an important role as a community focal point.

“It could be run as a co-operative. As well as the �traditional pub, parts of it could be opened up and hired out as meeting rooms or tea rooms.

“We could accommodate a weekly farm shop, or open up the rooms for local artists to display and sell their work.

“We want to keep it local and real – not for it to be signed over to someone who would use it for their own gain and ruin part of Huntingdon’s history.

“I see it working as pool of talents, with everyone working together. It would be brilliant if it was part of Huntingdon again.”

A spokesman from Punch Taverns said that the company was still looking for someone to take the lease of The Falcon. She added: “We review our estate regularly and may explore other options around the future of our less sustainable sites, or where they might better fulfil their potential for the local community under different ownership.”

INFORMATION: Anyone interested in The Falcon should contact Fleurets on 01787 378050. To have your say on The Falcon, search ‘Save the Falcon’ on Facebook or e-mail save.tfh@gmail.com