Plans to reopen pub suffer setback

The Black Bull in Lowick. Picture by Jane Coltman
The Black Bull in Lowick. Picture by Jane Coltman
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There has been yet another twist in the tale of a north Northumberland village’s bid to save its pub.

It follows confirmation that the steering group behind plans to reopen the Black Bull pub in Lowick has been disbanded.

The decision follows the resignation of Mark Dodds, a driving force behind the project.

Karl Crane confirmed his intention to re-open the Black Bull as soon as practicable, however, this is now likely to be based on alternative funding, rather than a Community Share Issue.

A statement from the Black Bull steering group said: ‘It has become clear from investigation and experience that raising community and grant funding is extremely time-consuming and complex.

‘Many of these routes are therefore likely to result in costly and unacceptable delays to opening the business, which would not serve the best interest of those involved.

‘Although there will be no need for future steering-group meetings, the work and planning that has been done so far could be incorporated into the redevelopment and Karl is keen to benefit from skills that are available within the community; so, as ever, ideas and volunteers are welcome.

‘We wish Karl every success with the renovation works and look forward to the Black Bull reopening’.

In November last year, we reported that the future of the Black Bull in Lowick has been secured after years of uncertainty.

A ‘supportive local investor’ was buying the property and Lowick Community Ventures had been invited to take out a lease on terms that are favourable for the long term with the proviso that the pub would be redeveloped and brought up to proper standards, be community-focused and that villagers would be engaged in developing the vision for its future.

Hawthorn Leisure, the owners of the Black Bull, had put the property up for sale, but campaigners successfully applied for it to be made an Asset of Community Value, which meant it could not be sold for any other purpose than as a pub until 2019.