North Northamptonshire villagers win important battle in fight to save pub

Villagers protesting outside The George pub in Ashley
Villagers protesting outside The George pub in Ashley

Residents in a county village have won the first battle in what could be a long war to save one of the area’s most attractive pubs from being turned into houses.

The George in Ashley, five miles west of Corby, is a handsome, grade II-listed Northamptonshire stone building which has been a pub since 1745.

But the pub shut 18 months ago, and the new owner – local man Stephen Craik – submitted a planning application to Kettering Council to convert the building into two homes.

The parish council fought back by designating the pub an “asset of community value”.

And the village of 120 houses sent 100 letters to Kettering Council planners, objecting to the houses plan.

Now the council’s planning officers have contacted the village saying the housing plan won’t even get to a planning meeting.

“We’re very pleased,” said Stephen Castens, chairman of Ashley Parish Council. “It’s great news for the village.

“Since there was no support for this scheme, the officers took the decision to turn the housing plan down.”

Mr Castens said the parish council and villagers now hoped to talk with the building’s owner about the future of the former pub.

“The village wants it to go back to being a pub,” he said. “It may even be possible for a local group to buy the building.”

Ashley resident David Chadwick, who has lived in the village all his life, said: “The George is a focal point for me, my family and friends – truly a community pub.”