Courant 2010 03 05

Pub’s rescue is village’s crowning achievement


Published at 09:46, Friday, 05 March 2010

VOLUNTEERS in Humshaugh have saved their village pub from closure, just four months after coming to the rescue of their local shop.

Crowning glory: Jayne Walsham who will help manage The Crown Inn on a daily basis and Steve Robins of Humshaugh Community Ventures.

The future of The Crown Inn had been shrouded in uncertainty after tenants Andrew and Lynette Clarkson announced they would be taking over a snack shop in Hexham’s Market Place.

Owners Punch Taverns failed to secure a new landlord for the pub, and the couple called last orders on Sunday night.

Now, Humshaugh Community Ventures has stepped in to run The Crown for the next few months and prevent it from closing.

It is understood Punch Taverns wants to sell the business and has been looking for a buyer for some time.

Volunteers from the village have been granted a temporary lease and the pub will be managed on a daily basis by local resident Jayne Walsham, who was a tenant at The Crown for six years during the 1990s.

Director of Humshaugh Community Ventures Dick Moules said: “The last thing we want is for our village pub to be mothballed between now and the start of the tourist season.

“The Crown has had an excellent reputation and we want to keep it alive until the new owners, whoever they might be, can take over.

“Separate to the shop, there will be a band of volunteers to help run the pub – we can’t expect the same people to give up their free time at both establishments.

“We are a not-for-profit organisation so we can use any money we do make in the shop to fund projects, like this one, in the village.”

The Crown will now open in the evenings during the week and for longer hours at the weekend.

Humshaugh’s village store reopened on November 1 last year as a community run venture, following the retirement of shopkeepers Pat and Rob Gray.

Post appeal rejected


Last updated at 20:40, Friday, 05 March 2010

A NORTH Tyne village’s plea to have its post office returned to its local shop has been rejected.

Instead the post van, which has been visiting Humshaugh since January last year, will continue to run.

Post Office Ltd has ruled out a move into the shop, it says, because it could affect the viability of the outreach mobile service which operates throughout the district.

And the company has indicated it may add Simonburn and Mickley to the existing outreach service.

Humshaugh lost its post office counter in 2008 despite a passionate campaign by residents to save it.

The villagers decided to focus their energy on saving what was left of the shop and, on November 1 last year, a team of more than 40 volunteers took over the running of the store.

Last month, representatives of the volunteer group, Humshaugh Community Ventures, had a meeting with officials from Post Office Ltd because a review of the one-year-old mobile outreach service was taking place.

They were hoping to persuade them that a post office counter in the shop would be a better service than the mobile van, which only visits on weekday lunchtimes.

And they argued that the need was even greater since their next nearest post office at Simonburn had been closed a year earlier.

Parish councillor and Humshaugh Community Ventures director, Dick Moules, said: “The village shop is about to be re-fitted and we could easily have accommodated a small post office counter that would have been available all of the time that the shop is open.”