Published on May 3, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour


Pub at the crossroads

The village pub is too important an asset to give up. That’s the view of one Tyneside group who were dismayed when theirs shut up shop in January.

Ye Olde Cross in Ryton Village, Gateshead, is now the focus of an action group who are hoping to by the 1909-vintage pub and have it up and running for the benefit of the local community. Owners Enterprise Inns decided it was no longer viable and put it on the market for £295,000. The question has to be asked, if a national pubco can’t make a fist of a Ye Olde Cross, why would a gang of neighbours succeed? The answer lies in the 80 or so community-owned pubs across the country, each running successfully.

Last month, the Friends of Ye Olde Cross Ryton hosted a public meeting attended by around 60 interested individuals – who included local Blaydon MP Liz Twist and a babe in arms – to gauge the interest in forming a co-operative to buy the pub and run it in conjunction with like-minded tenants, a sympathetic pub group or brewery.

A steering group has been set up to assess, among other issues, why the pub didn’t seem to work in latter years and if it wasn’t making any money previously, how could they do things differently and make it sustainable.

Local opinion goes something like: “If it’s run by the community it’ll be for the community, plus it’ll be more than a pub, it’s too important an asset to simply give up. It could be also used by disability groups and creative circles, it’s on popular walking and cycling routes, so let’s have a go.”

Friends of Ye Olde Cross report that pub is generally in good condition, plus there’s a very well-equipped kitchen and a two-bedroom flat above. However, there is no disabled access to any of the building and double glazing would also be a priority.

A business plan is being prepared to present to Enterprise Inns and Gateshead Council with the idea of applying for an Asset of Community Value (ACV) which improves the chances of owners selling to community groups.

*Follow Friends of Ye Olde Cross Ryton on Twitter:  @ouryeoldecross.

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Alastair Gilmour

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