Kirsten Johnson, North Devon Lib Dem PPC visited Bratton Fleming at the invitation of Bratton Fleming Community Benefit Society Ltd, on Thursday, 8th of November. The meeting was well attended and took place in St Peter’s Church.
Chair of the Bratton Fleming Community Benefit Society (BFCBS), Trevor Hilton, says, "We are pleased to have Kirsten's support in our fight to save The White Hart for our local community in Bratton Fleming."
Kirsten adds "I very much support The White Hart remaining an Asset of Community Value. Local residents have fought hard to stop housing development of this pub, and North Devon Council have refused several applications. I hope this beautiful building can either be re-opened as a pub or a community hub in the near future. Building communities and providing proper facilities combats rural isolation and keeps our local economy strong. I hope North Devon can rally around and support those in Bratton Fleming striving to keep this pub as part of the community. I also sincerely hope that the owner of the White Hart will desist from his current endeavours to keep the pub closed, which so many residents of Bratton Fleming find very disappointing. I share their sentiments”.
Kirsten was fully briefed by BFCBS. The listing of The White Hart in Bratton Fleming as an Asset of Community Value expires in September 2019. Residents hope that the situation will have been satisfactorily resolved long before that time. They are committed to applying for their pub to continue to be listed as an Asset of Community Value and firmly believe that there is ample evidence to justify such a continuation.
Pub closures across the country are on the increase, with CAMRA findings showing that 18 pubs a week are closing. In the first six months of 2018, 476 pubs closed; 13 more than in the last 6 months of 2017. This is a particular problem in rural areas like N Devon, because people can no longer walk to enjoy drinks with friends at their “local”. There is obviously an impact on the local economy and tourism too.
The White Hart in Bratton Fleming is one of three pubs owned by Philip Milton, former unsuccessful Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for North Devon.
The Bratton Fleming Community Benefit Society has asked for support from the current Conservative MP for North Devon. To date no support has been forthcoming.