MP praises pubs which act as community hubs

AN MP has praised rural pubs which double up as “community hubs” and has urged others across the region to adapt the model amidst a continued battle to save them from closure.

The call comes after Selby and Ainsty Tory MP Nigel Adams helped out behind the bar and spoke with customers and staff at The Crown at Great Ouseburn, which recently launched a new delicatessen at the pub.

As vice-chair of the Parliamentary all-party beer group and a member of the Parliamentary all-party Save the Pubs group, Mr Adams visited the Crown on Saturday in an effort to better understand the challenges currently faced by the industry.

He said: “I thought it was a good thing to get out there and get see what it’s like from the other side of the bar and to experience what it’s like working in the pub industry in the current climate.

“It was very worthwhile. Paul and Liz Jackson, who run the Crown, have got a fantastic business with excellent quality beers and drinks and food and have recently diversified into providing a deli which is valued highly in the community. Without question it is important that people engage with the community to find out what it wants and the Crown has done this.”

Mr Adams praised the owners’ efforts to ensure the deli did not compete with the village’s Post Office to avoid adversely affecting the business.

“This is an excellent example of community co-operation and many pubs are now doing this,” he said. “The Shoulder of Mutton, at Kirby Overblow, is a good example. The pub is very much involved in the local community and the pub is the hub. Like the Shoulder of Mutton, the Crown has gone down the line of having a deli, offering quality local produce. It’s a model that works and both pubs are a good example of how to raise the game by diversifying. It’s an excellent model for the industry to look to.”

The MP said another issue that had been highlighted during the visit was mounting financial pressures on pub owners caused by property investors raising the rent.

“People trying to earn a living can’t afford unachievable rent which some of these investment companies charge. That’s the reason why a lot of people who run pubs walk away from them.”