Locals miss out on chance to buy last pub in Nottinghamshire village

Residents have wound up an unsuccessful bid to save the only pub in the village after it was put up for sale for £350,000. Locals said unless "something remarkable happens" the community will lose what was once a valuable space.

The Gardeners Inn, in Awsworth Road, Cossall, closed in February 2022 when the landlady's lease expired. The pub was purchased by NG9 Developments, which planned to demolish it and build five detached houses.

Currently, it is boarded up with railings around it. Former patrons of the pub created the Friends of the Gardeners Inn group to oppose the proposals which were thrown out by Broxtowe Borough Council, giving the group the opportunity to purchase it. NG9 Developments appealed hoping the government's planning inspectorate would overturn the refusal but the inspector ruled that the pub was too valuable to destroy when it could still be viable.

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Residents pledged £34,000 and hoped to get finance from the Community Ownership Fund to purchase and renovate the pub. However, the deadline for the final round of the fund was at the end of June.

Resident Rob Bryant said: "Unfortunately the asking price was way too high at £350,000. It has been independently valued at £200,000 to £225,000. Our offers were not accepted and there was no willingness to negotiate.

How the Gardeners Inn used to look inside
How the Gardeners Inn used to look inside

"It’s a real shame how communities are not just losing pubs but also other community meeting spaces such as leisure centres, youth clubs, community centres and church halls."

Group chairman Bronya Fitzsimmons added: "Unless something remarkable happens it seems the community will lose this valuable social space which was at the heart of the community. This is truly a shame.

"The Friends of the Gardeners would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone involved for their efforts to save the pub, especially those on the committee, local tradespeople who offered their services for free, and everyone who responded to the pledge survey.

"The future of the pub is now in the hands of the property developer and Broxtowe Borough Council. It has long been understood locally that the land upon which the pub was built was gifted to the community with a covenant that it will be used for the benefit of local residents, and it is hoped that this will be honoured."

Andrew Ludlow, secretary of Nottingham's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said: "The Gardeners Inn was the only pub in the village of Cossall and at the recent planning appeal the Inspector had confirmed that the pub was a community asset. Sadly despite valiant efforts by the Friends of the Gardeners, they were unable to reach an agreement on the value of the pub, despite obtaining an independent valuation.

"Whilst the Friends have had no option but to cease their attempts to save the pub it is hoped that Broxtowe Borough Council will continue to refuse to allow it to be demolished so that at some time in the future it can be returned to the successful pub it once was."

The public house was erected in 1959 for the Hardy Hanson Brewery. Robert Ellis estate agents, which is selling the property, said: "Since its closure, unfortunately the property has fallen into disrepair and requires extensive refurbishment and modernisation. However, it offers fantastic potential as a free house, ideal for an established independent brewery, bistro or restaurant to transform into a destination venue."

Matthew Eley, a director of NG9 Developments, said the price had been set by Robert Ellis, an approved assessor for valuing properties. "We appointed Robert Ellis to market the property. They recently sold a public house in the local vicinity and were best placed to put a valuation. The future of the site will now be reassessed."

Broxtowe Borough Council has been approached for a comment.