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Winterbourne Arms up for sale

West Berkshire pub at centre of long-running controversy

Charlie Masters

Charlie Masters


07964 444701

Pub controversy brewing in Winterbourne

A village pub at the heart of a local controversy is now up for sale, following the withdrawal of redevelopment plans on Monday.

Current owner Nicholas Roffe acquired the property in 2018. The previous management had promised that it would continue to serve the Winterbourne community.

However, Mr Roffe instead sought permission to convert the pub into residential property.

This caused a local backlash, spearheaded by a 'Save The Winterbourne Arms' campaign.

The Planning Inspectorate rejected the initial proposals in January.

Revised proposals, including a small pub adjacent to the dwellings, were submitted in August, and were also considered unacceptable by campaigners.

Almost 100 responses – mostly negative – were officially lodged with West Berkshire Council.

As of Wednesday, the most recent planning application has been abandoned, and the premises are advertised for sale online

The pub is listed with a guide price of £600,000, or can be leased at £30,000 a year. 

Mr Roffe said: "The application has been withdrawn, to enable a marketing campaign to take place to satisfy the planning authorities and to give potential lessees an opportunity to buy."

News that the pub was back on the market was welcomed by the Save The Winterbourne Arms group.

Winterbourne Parish Council charwoman Jill Hoblin said: "During our campaign, we have always claimed that such a tiny drinks only pub was completely unviable – a claim backed up by experts in the pub trade that we consulted during the process.

"We are pleased that our successful campaign to fight the conversion on two separate occasions has resulted in this outcome.

"We are aware that the Winterbourne Arms has now been placed on the market and hope that the new owner will now refurbish the pub and reopen it so that it can return to the successful destination pub it always was."

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Article comments

  • Pogo8

    30/10/2020 - 11:57

    I have watched this saga with wry amusement having looked at buying the pub a couple of years ago. If it was viable as a pub it wouldn’t have shut in the first place… It seems to be a case of another tiny village expecting someone to run a pub just so they can pop in for a pint once in a blue moon. The locals need to understand that this will never be a ‘destination’ pub. It is too small to have letting rooms and there are two Michelin starred pubs (as well as two ex-Michelin starred restaurants) within a few miles. Nobody in that market would look to set up with so much local competition. To have any chance of being competitive it would need between £200K and £300K spending on it including a larger kitchen which, again, nobody in their right mind is going to do when they can pick up pubs in much better condition, with better passing traffic, for less money. And if the locals think they can club together to buy it and run it, you only have to look at the numerous examples of that going


    • Art E Ficial

      30/10/2020 - 12:20

      You have no idea do you. The pub was not closed as a result of viability, it closed & was sold owning to the health of the previous owner. The pub has always been viable and was a destination pub with busy service. It also has had approved planning to extend the dining area. The current owner has bought a pub & not a development site, a pub that thrived prior to the sale and failed to open in the 2 years he's owned it. He's then played at being a property developer citing the viability as the primary justification - something he has never proven. He failed, twice, & lost an appeal as his viability assessment does not stand up to scrutiny. He is now trying to market the pub with a highly inflated & totally unrealistic price (nearly twice what he paid) in an attempt to address one of the reasons he's been unsuccessful in securing planning. How is it worth what he's asking when he's done his level best to ruin it in terms of viability, lack of trade & reputation.


  • brunin the bear

    29/10/2020 - 09:22

    Hope he gets a sensible offer.


  • Bored of registering

    28/10/2020 - 15:07

    Sorry Locals, all this is going to do is strengthen his case to have it de-licensed. It won't sell for 600k, no-one in their right mind will buy into a 30k a year lease during a pandemic, so he will claim it's not viable as a business. Simple! He is playing the long game.