Villagers fear they will lose 'identity' as Northampton pub put up for sale

The Baker's Arms will go on freehold sale, meaning it could be developed and no longer be a pub.
The Baker's Arms will go on freehold sale, meaning it could be developed and no longer be a pub.

A Northamptonshire village is worried it is losing its identity as one of its pubs goes on sale.

The Bakers Arms, in Bugbrooke, is closing its doors after its owner has chosen to retire in May.

But the pub has gone on freehold sale, meaning it may not re-open as a pub and the site is open for development.

Villagers are now concerned the sale and potential closure of the pub will mark the loss of "another community asset."

Pat Kent, a local historian from Bugbrooke, said: "The problem is we don't know what it will be used for, or even what it could be used for. We've got a village hall, a community centre, a cafe, and another pub nearby. Unless someone comes up with a really good community project, it will be a waste.

"It would be a shame for such an old building to be lost to the village. I'm very interested to see what ideas people can come up with for it. For example, I wonder if the playschool could move into there, but these things cost money.

"I hope it can be used for the benefit of the village again."

The parish council was due to meet on February 6 for the public to voice their concerns.

John Curtis, chairman of Bugbrooke Parish Council: "The parish council is quite concerned that we will lose another valued facility. The Baker's Arms is in a central position in the village and we could lose a real asset. It's listed as a building of community value.

"People have complained before that we are losing facilities and parts of our village's identity. We used to have a butcher's and a village shop. We've lost those assets, and we don't want to lose another.

"I personally want to see it retained as a pub but only if they can make it viable again, or if not make it into a shop.

"The worst thing would be if it went to a developer and just become more housing. We don't want to become a dormitory village."

George Scott, 51, manager of the Baker's Arms, said: "The owner of the Baker's Arms is now 72. Due to some bad health and the rising cost of owning a pub, he has decided to retire in May.

"It's a grade two listed building and it would be awful to see it turned into housing by developers. I hope there will be plenty of interest from the local community to make something of it."

Local man Stan Clark, 77, said: "This is just part of the constant change in our lives as ever. It's a shame if it's going to shut. I'm not a drinking man myself but I know there are some wonderful memories surrounding the place.

"There have been seven pubs shut in this area in the past 70 years. They're just not as used as they once were."

A spokesperson from Enterprise Inns publican partnerships said: " We can confirm that the Bakers Arms, Bugbrooke is currently closed due to the publican’s decision to cease trading and leave, due to poor health. As part of our on-going business, we do from time to time identify a pub that may no longer have a long-term future in our estate. After careful consideration, the decision has been made to sell the Bakers Arms. Anyone interested in the opportunity to purchase this site should contact our agents on 020 7495 7500."

The Baker's Arms will remain open and trading until it is sold, the owner has confirmed.