Rescue the Fox & Hounds Inn
A Community Campaigning Website created, maintained and funded by Select Systems
“When you have lost your inns,
drown your empty selves,
for you will have lost the last of England.”
Two houses to replace our village pub? At the Parish Council Meeting on May 15th, the current owners of the pub, Allely and Harding announced that they had applied for planning permission to convert our Village Pub into two houses. Having turned down an offer to...read more
The next pop up will be held on Great Wolford Village Green i.e. the telephone Box on Friday 30th June 2017 from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm The aim is to keep the Re Opening of the Pub fresh in everyone’s mind and to enjoy ourselves. Fully licensed bar at more than...read more
The Fox and Hounds Inn can be dated back to 1540. The well-built former stable block attests to its prosperity, catering to weary travellers from Oxford and the East of England. For many decades the Inn has a been the vibrant social centre of Great Wolford and the surrounding villages as well as being a ‘Destination Pub’ attracting visitors from the local area and further afield seeking accommodation and good food in a convivial atmosphere.
We’ve been fortunate to have had some wonderful landlords and ladies over the years who have built up the Inn’s reputation and custom. Unfortunately the last owner of the pub Gill Tarbox was forced to close the business in January 2015 due to ill health and other issues. The F&H was bought for just £325,000 in April 2015. The listed proprietors are Stephen Charles Allely (proprietor of the Waterfront Tearooms in Bourton on the Water), Jacqueline Harding and Beryl Jean Allely. Stephen Allely and Jacqueline Harding were directors of The Fox and Hounds Inn Great Wolford Limited, a company having it’s registered offices at the Pub, though Harding subsequently resigned as a director.
Before the pub was reopened various works were carried out. Sadly, they it was deemed appropriate to destroy the quaint old bar and restaurant interiors with their comfortable seating and cosy atmosphere. The replacement bare wood interior with its tottering stools and digital jukebox was not to everyone’s taste. It is no longer the bar that has featured so widely in photographs and reviews of the much-loved “Quintessential English Pub”
At first, despite the changes, the locals were keen to support the new regime at their village pub and went out of their way to use it regularly, encouraging the return of other regulars who had drifted away during its closure.
However after a couple of months concern began to grow that something wasn’t right. The pub was never seen to be advertised or promoted and little apparent effort was made to make drinkers and diners feel welcome. It was almost as if the owners didn’t want the business to succeed.
As 2016 began, less than six months after being re-opened, the pub was regularly found to be closed without notice. Then it was only open in the evenings and finally it was closed altogether. The Parish council was asked to apply to Stratford District Council for an Asset of Community Value listing – an ACV. At the Parish Council meeting on September 14th. 2016 the chair reported that, in response to the the ACV application, the owners had informed the Council that the pub was “No longer financially viable” and that they would be applying for change of use. The owners attended the meeting with a Planning Consultant. When asked directly whether the pub would ever re-open Steven Allely responded very quietly “Unlikely”. Stratford DC granted the ACV listing in September 2016
A Landlady’s View
It was my privilege to own and ‘care take’ this unique and well-known village Inn in from 2000 – 2003.
I say ‘care take’ because the Fox and Hounds is a very special Inn: it is situated in a beautiful Cotswolds village location and is unique. As soon as one stoops to enter through the ‘coffin’ door of this 17th Century, Grade II-listed building, one is transported back in time. It has a rich history, exudes candle-lit warmth and its walls ‘ooze’ atmosphere. Its age meant, of course, that there were 21st-century challenges in running this Inn (with rooms) commercially and successfully.
Until recently, The Fox and Hounds had an uninterrupted fine reputation in the area. (I have known it for over 30 years and many other locals for even longer). I felt I could never ‘possess’ such a unique historic hostelry – but could only, fleetingly in its history, look after it and then hand over the mantle to ensure the Inn remained the hub of the surrounding village communities for many years to come.
|In her full article Wendy makes some irrefutable points about the viability of the Fox and Hounds and provides real figures to support them|
- Have you ever used the Fox and Hounds Inn? 100%
- Would you like to see the Fox and Hounds Re-opened? 100%
- Would you use the Fox and Hounds if it were reopened and run properly? 100%
- Would you support the closure of the Fox and Hounds and its change of use? 0%
What do local people think?We asked a group of local people some simple questions about their village pub. Here’s a breakdown of the replies we received from a sample size of 32.
While we know that not everyone in the village uses the Fox and Hounds, almost everyone recognizes its social importance and nobody would be happy to see it lost.