Time called at historic pub

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 January 2012

Archant

A PUB at the heart of a North Somerset village has been closed, with the venue now facing an uncertain future.

The Bell Inn in the centre of Banwell was closed shortly before Christmas, and its doors have remained locked ever since.

The closure means the village has now been reduced to one pub having had as many as six in the past.

Local couple Gary White and Karly Ivison bought the pub, in The Square, West Street, in October 2009, becoming the latest in a long line of recent owners.

The doors to the historic pub were closed shortly before Christmas, with the couple leaving a message saying ‘thank you to all who supported us for our time here, Karly and Gary’ on the venue’s front door.

Earlier this year two men brandished samurai swords in a fight in the village centre after drinking at the pub, although police stressed that the incident was not linked directly to the inn.

Concerns had been raised over the renting of rooms above the pub for bedsits and of adequate parking for people wanting to visit the pub.

The concerns led the village’s representative on North Somerset Council, Tim Marter, to call for a licence review of the pub, but he said he had mixed emotions about the closure.

He said: “Although I have my own views on the venue, I know a lot of people who used to drink at the pub and it is a shame to see it empty as it is in the middle of Banwell. I am hopeful that a new buyer or tenant can be found quickly who can raise standards.”

Banwell Parish Council chairman Liz Shayler said: “It is a shame that the decision has been made to close the pub, it was really at the heart of the village.

“We used to have six pubs in the village, and now we only have one which is a big shame.”

But the inn’s future is currently uncertain, as no new tenant or buyer can be sought until Mr White, the leaseholder, agrees to sell the business. The Mercury attempted to contact Mr White, but had not received a reply by the time it went to press.

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