04:30PM, Thursday 10 January 2019
A row over a village pub could see the building boarded up for good.
An application was approved by the Royal Borough last week to turn The Robin Hood, also known as The Arbour, in Marlow Road, into a medical clinic.
The building, which would become Berkshire Aesthetics, lies next to a strip of land owned by the National Trust, which is demanding a sum to allow the new owners access. The charity says it has a legal requirement to ensure it receives a return ‘equivalent in value to the resource it provides’.
Peter Langdon, finance operations director at Berkshire Aesthetics, which is based in Park Street, Maidenhead, and owned by his wife Selena, says he has exchanged contracts with owners Greene King to buy the pub, but cannot get a mortgage. He believes the charity is holding him ‘to ransom’ and said it has asked for £4,000 to value the site as a medical clinic. He added that, should he want to turn it into a pub, free and specific access would be granted if it is proven that access has been sought there for more than 20 years.
He said: “Yes, we will make money but we both live locally. The pub has not been successful. We are not changing anything, we are not big developers, we are a small couple trying to grow our business. It obviously does not cost them anything as they said if we use it as a pub it will be free. We are actually causing less disruption to their land, less noise as it will be closed by 6pm. We’re being held to ransom.”
Mr Langdon added he has spoken to Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead branch. CAMRA pub protection officer Mark Newcombe said: “Without an active community group campaigning to save it, its future is in the hands of others.
“We cannot fight every fight. I hate to see a pub close, but a lot of people are supportive of Peter’s idea.”
A National Trust spokeswoman said: “The National Trust has a legal requirement under Charity Commission rules to ensure the charity receives a return equivalent in value to the resource it provides.
“Failure could threaten our charitable status or result in legal proceedings.
“In the case of The Arbour pub, we have proposed consulting external advisers to ensure an independent, fair valuation of the access rights being sought.”
W The pub remains open for business until Saturday, January 12.
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