Wednesday, 11 November 2009

No Result For Jolly Anglers

Reports that negotiations to reopen the canal-side Jolly Anglers pub have collapsed have been confirmed.

West Berkshire Brewery said it will "remain very supportive of all efforts to re-open the Jolly Anglers," but it was stymied by undeclared licensing variations.

Current owner Enterprise Inns had surrended the property's licenses in the expectation that it could be developed for residential use and applied a restrictive covenant to ensure any future buyers used it for this purpose.

Reading East MP Rob Wilson, who previously announced a deal had been agreed, said
"It's very unfortunate that licensing variations were not revealed before the agreement between the parties was reached. I can understand entirely why this presents an obstacle for those wishing to lease the premises."
In a statement Cllr Gareth Epps (LibDem) claimed that despite the failure for a deal to be reached the lifting of the restrictive covenant was still "a victory of national significance."

He added, "after the great news that Enterprise Inns' restrictive covenant has been lifted, I remain optimistic that this unavoidable hurdle will be cleared."

The cross-party campaign has been the source of a political infight in recent days and weeks as different parties have attempted to claim credit for making the decisive intervention.

Conservative MP for Reading East, Rob Wilson was roundly criticised for preempting the official announcement and misleading journalists that a deal had already been done.

Green Party candidate Rob White joined the chorus of disappointment, and attacked Mr Wilson's 'irresponsible' behaviour, explaining that it may have 'jeopardised' the negotiations.

Mr White was particularly angry with the nature of press releases issued by Mr Wilson and picked up unquestioningly by the local media.

However all sides insisted the fight to save the community hub will go on.

Meanwhile, with a new tenant yet to be announced the pub industry continues to face numerous challenges including wholesale market pricing and aggressive rent reviews.

According to a recent Good Pub Guide report the price of a pint may be as much as 20 pence more expensive in Berkshire than the national average.

Phil Gill, from Reading & Mid Berks CAMRA, explained that while this is partly due to local market expectations and "regional differences depending on the strength of demand," the lower number of independent 'free houses' in the county cannot be ignored as an important factor.


Update: Commenting on the collapse of the deal Rob Wilson said, "This is really not a massive obstacle" as the pub "has the backing of the local community and is in a good position."


More on local efforts to Save Our Pubs!


  1. Do you go there, OJ? I haven't been to a pub in Reading in -- well, I guess I've never been. going up to London tonight to one but can't imagine going into a pub near my house -- they are nasty places.

  2. Hi E,
    I first went to the Jolly Angler about ten years ago, that was a time when I said I'd try to get to every pub in the town. But now I'm not so much of a drinker it takes a bit more of an effort to go out of the way to find somewhere new.

  3. Was that before you became a councillor?

  4. Alex,
    neither I nor anyone else who has anything to do with this blog is elected in any capacity. It is a wholly independent entity.

    I am flattered that you think I may be and am intrigued to know who you think 'Oranjepan' represents. You will definitely be surprised and disappointed.

    Let me take this opportunity to encourage you to identify yourself in a spirit of openness and transparency.

    I think it is highly unfair on the other readers of this site that I know while they remain in the dark and it speaks volumes that you wish to avoid being held accountable for your unconstructive attitude.

  5. My name, unsurprisingly, is Alex M (Maunder) - there's an actual name - not a pseudonym!

    Who are you then??? I think it is highly unfair on the other readers of this site that I know while they remain in the dark and it speaks volumes that you wish to avoid being held accountable for your unconstructive attitude.

  6. May I encourage you to log into the comments app by one of the many various methods available, which will provide automatic verification of who you are.

  7. ??? How strange... May I invite you to post your full identity?

  8. Alex, if you wish to contact me privately off-topic please do so, my details aren't hard to find.


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