The Royal Oak Inn - A new lease of life
The Royal Oak was closed from late 2007 until Saturday 5th September 2015.
The village consortium which purchased the building from the bank has now completed the restoration and the pub is open again.
What follows is a history of the campaign to save the only pub in Swallowcliffe.
Detailed plans with consultants' reports can be seen at www.wiltshire.gov.uk (14/01267/FUL and 14/01378/LBC). These plans are fuller versions of those which were shown to villagers at a very well-attended open evening at The Royal Oak on 6th December 2013.
Swallowcliffe Parish Council resolved to support the applications at its meeting on 3rd March 2014. Great support was shown by villagers, and there were no objections to the applications. Planning and listed building consents were received on 24th March 2014. Work commenced on site on 28th April 2014. The builder is Les Parsons of Whitebeam Construction Ltd from Pitt, near Winchester. It is hoped that The Royal Oak will reopen towards the end of 2014.
A brief history (what might have happened).
After the pub closed in 2007 it remained unsold for the first few years largely due to the price being asked by the bank that repossessed it. Originally £550,000 then later reduced to around £300,000 which many people believed was far in excess of its value as a semi derelict pub which probably needed at least £250,000 spent on it to return it to use as a pub.
An option to purchase was agreed by James and Emma Bell in 2012. They were seeking permission to change it to a private house which would have significantly increased its value whilst almost certainly removing the possibility of the village ever having a pub again.
The planning applications for change of use for The Royal Oak are available on-line at:
When planning permission for change of use was refused the Bells declined to follow through with their purchase.
The pub was eventually purchased by a consortium of villagers in the summer of 2012. Plans are being drawn up to completely rebuild the pub and re-open as a pub as soon as possible.
Friday 24th February 19:00 in Swallowcliffe Village Hall
The public meeting organised by the Parish Council was well attended with over 60 members of the public present.
Mr Bell put his argument forward which was politely received by those present, however the vast majority of those voicing an opinion were strongly opposed to the application for change of use.
Accordingly, after careful consideration of the pros and cons, the Parish Councillors voted to oppose the application.
The Swallowcliffe Debating Society held a meeting about The Royal Oak on 8th February 2011 - 20:00 - almost 80 people attended and all, bar one, felt the pub should be reopened as a pub.
The chairman, Chris Stanbury, suggested that it may be a good idea to buy the pub as a community pub and there was some significant interest in this idea but there were not sufficient pledges at the time to make an offer.
At the time there was an offer on the table from an unknown buyer of approximately £300k which was rejected by the owners - this offer would have been to re-open The Royal Oak as a pub.
The building probably needed at least £250,000 spent on it to make it usable as a pub.
The whole building is listed - Grade 2