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Branch Pub of the Year 2016

The Branch Pub of the Year is Prince of Wales, Farnborough – a presentation will take place on the evening of Monday 23rd May from 8pm

Branch Club of the Year 2016

The Branch Club of the Year is Woking Railway & Athletic Club – a presentation will take place on the evening of Tuesday 21st June at the Branch Meeting from 8pm

Branch Cider and Perry Pub of the Year 2016

The Branch Cider and Perry Pub of the Year is Star, Godalming.

Branch Pub of the Season Winter 2015

2015/16 Branch Winter Pub of the Season Merry Harriers, Hambledon

The Merry Harriers was chosen as it is a quintessentially English country pub that is at the hub of the local community, and of course serves excellent local beers, having been in CAMRAs Good Beer Guide for 10 of the past 11 years; only missing once due to a change of ownership.

We believe it is particularly worthy of the award now, because its future is in a bit of doubt. However,the owners are trying to leave the pub as an asset for the community long into the future; exactly the sort of endeavour CAMRA wishes to acknowledge.

Julie and Colin Stoneley bought the Merry Harriers in 2008 from the Beasley family who had run the pub for 40 years. At the time it was an alehouse, with little focus on food; a charming pub but not really viable and under threat of closure.

Tony Lea, the Branch LocAle officer who organised the competition says, “The Stoneley’s have been instrumental with putting the pub back at the heart of the community, with a busy programme of village-orientated events and it is rightly an important part of the life of Hambledon. This has been done in a sympathetic manner, retaining the essence of the pub whilst at the same time making it commercially viable. They run lots of local events and have the unique attraction of llama trekking, which brings a diverse range of people to the village, who invariably visit the pub too.

“However, they have now decided it is time to retire and have been trying to sell the pub for a number of months, they only wish to sell it as a going concern and are not interested in selling for development; instead wanting to leave a legacy for the village.

“CAMRA is keen to support this and hope the local community, has sufficient enthusiasm and resource and perhaps run the pub as some form of community partnership. We understand that if there is sufficient interest, the Stoneley’s would be willing to cede the freehold to the community; creating a lasting legacy and securing the future of the pub in the long term.”

With the future of the pub slightly uncertain, now is the time for everyone to support it and CAMRA hopes that this Pub of the Season award, will be a small recognition from us for this excellent community pub.

A presentation of a certificate to mark this award will be made during the evening of Tuesday 8th March from 8pm and everyone is welcome to attend.

Branch Pub of the Year 2015

The Branch Pub of the Year is Jolly Sailor, Farnham.

Branch Club of the Year 2015

The Branch Club of the Year is Woking Railway & Athletic Club.

Branch Cider and Perry Pub of the Year 2015

The Branch Cider and Perry Pub of the Year is Star, Godalming.

Branch Pub of the Season Winter 2015

The Branch Winter Pub of the Season were Garden Gate, Aldershot and White Hart, Tongham.


Aldershot Community Pub Campaign

In January 2014 The Aldershot Civic Society and Surrey Hampshire Borders (SHB) Branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale launched a joint campaign to protect the rich heritage of pubs in Aldershot. Later in the month they were joined by the Aldershot History Society.

The British pub is a unique institution; although most other countries have alcohol outlets of some kind, none of them offer the combination of social drinking, tolerance, conviviality and atmosphere you find in the traditional pubs of this nation.

However the pubs in Aldershot are under serious threat. In 1878 there were 88 pubs in the town whilst at the start of 2015, there are only 17 remaining, this was reduced to 16 when in February the Unicorn closed suddenly.

Last year the Beehive and Heroes of Lucknow closed their doors for the last time and the Garden Gate was in danger, but now pleasingly seeing a new lease of life under new owners. However, the Garden Gate and other community pubs in the town such as the Imperial Standard, White Hart, Royal Staff and Red Lion, to name just four, need support both from the local community and local authorities to prosper and flourish.

The Alderhot Civic Society, Aldershot History Society and CAMRA will also promote and highlight the important role pubs in the town play in providing life and vitality to the community. Both the Civic Society and CAMRA are members of the Localism Alliance, an initiative set up last year- who collectively represent over 200,000 individuals and nearly 10,000 grass-roots organisations across England. By working together the two organisations will try to help the community embrace the powers available to them to protect local pubs as vital community assets.

They will ensure that pubs in the town are protect by the law as much as possible, with statutory listing, protection in the Rushmoor Local Plan and confirmation of Asset of Community Value status, so that if there are plans to sell a pub the local community has the opportunity to buy it. Whilst we welcome recent planning decisions in Farnborough we have suggested and would welcome the council changing the local planning framework and adopting an economic viability test with some urgency now. Doing this would help protect valuable community resources,and the jobs they provide. The camapign was therefore delighted when Rushmoor Borough Council announced a consultation on a new pub protection policy. Everyone is urged to look at this document and provide comments on how it can be improved. A copy can be found  here

Justin Coll said “It is sad that pubs are not given a proper chance to prosper as the present planning laws offer no protection for them. They can become supermarkets without even needing to approach the council. Although a local pub can sustain a family with a reasonable income, they cannot match the money made by the sale to a supermarket or property developer, which is why they end up out of reach for a family wanting to start their own pub business – which to me is the sort of local pub you would want in your neighbourhood.”

Kevin Travers, Pubs Officer from Surrey Hants Borders CAMRA added. “There are some great pubs in Aldershot serving some fantastic real ales. The Queen Hotel in particular is now offering a great choice of beers, but the heart of the town is its community pubs such as the Garden Gate and the White Lion, they are the life-blood of the town.”

So far the campaign has:

      • secured cross party political support foer its aims
      • enroled the Aldershot History Society as an additional member of the campaign
      • submitted an application for 3 pubs, the Imperial Standard, La Fontaine and Unicorn, to be given a local listing
      • requested that an Article 4 declaration be served on the Unicorn
      • submitted an application for the Queen’s Head to be designated as an Asset of Community Value
      • seen Rushmoor Borough Council launch a consultation on a new pub protection policy for the Borough

Justin Coll Chairman Aldershot Civic Society
07941 266274

Kevin Travers: Pubs Officer Surrey Hants Borders CAMRA
0787 0411330

Note: the 16 pubs still trading in Aldershot are:

Duke of York
Funky End
Garden Gate
Golden Lion
Imperial Standard
La Fontaine
Queen Hotel
Queen Victoria
Red Lion
Royal Staff
White Hart
White Lion

 Last reviewed and updated 7th September 2015.

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