Landlord of 36 years ‘would be mortified’ if ‘cherished’ pub is demolished

PUBLISHED: 13:00 29 July 2017

Molly and Jack Warner outside Cleeve's Lord Nelson.

Molly and Jack Warner outside Cleeve's Lord Nelson.

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Relatives of the longest-serving landlord at a ‘cherished’ pub believe its proposed demolition would ‘change the village’s identity forever’.

Cleeve’s Lord Nelson pub could be bulldozed and replaced with a petrol station, convenience store and café if developer Tout Ltd’s plans are realised.

The family of Jack and Molly Warner, who ran the pub for 36 years, have slammed the plans to flatten the ‘iconic landmark’.

Jack and Molly took on the pub during World War Two, before retiring decades later in 1980 and their daughter, Jill Cox, believes they would have been ‘devastated and mortified’ if they knew it was to be demolished.

She said: “My parents cherished the Lord Nelson.

“It was also cherished by the people of Cleeve, and my mum and dad knew virtually everyone in the village.

“The pub was the hub of the community, thriving with activities such as skittles and darts clubs, British Legion meetings, and weddings and parties.”

Prior to its closure last year, the Lord Nelson was run by Greene King as a Hungry Horse restaurant before being listed on the market for £625,000 and sold to Tout Ltd.

In February, managing director Jon Tout said the revamped complex would create 100 jobs in Cleeve, and that the Lord Nelson was not a viable business.

Ms Cox added: “It was devastating to see this historic building ran down.

“I am in no doubt it can prosper again under the ownership of someone with vision, who appreciates the heritage and shares my parents’ values.

“My parents would never have imagined someone would buy their beloved pub with the sole intention of letting it rot and then bulldozing it down. They would be devastated and completely mortified.

“I really hope North Somerset councillors do the right thing and stop this unnecessary destruction going ahead.”

Jack and Molly’s granddaughter, Sharon Navarra, said the saga ‘has caused much distress’ to the family.

She added: “To see the Lord Nelson fall into such a shabby state epitomises how much things have changed and it’s painful for us to see.

“It would make a fantastic and viable pub again, especially with some conversion to serve as a hotel with leisure or restaurant facilities.”

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