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Abandoned pub owned by Greg Dyke which is now a ‘blot on the landscape’ sparks row with locals

Abandoned pub owned by Greg Dyke which is now a ‘blot on the landscape’ sparks row with locals who want to get it running again – but ex-BBC chief says offers to rent or buy it are not ‘realistic’

  • Former BBC chief Greg Dyke has been blasted for abandoning a community pub
  • The millionaire bought The Pickwick Inn four years ago as an investment
  • The boarded-up pub closed in January after tenants moved out unexpectedly
  • Mr Dyke said offers to rent or buy the pub had not been near ‘anywhere realistic’
  • Parish council has now launched petition to turn the Inn into a community asset 

Former BBC chief and millionaire Greg Dyke has been blasted by locals for abandoning a popular community pub and allowing it to become — a ‘blot on the landscape.’

Angry locals have launched a petition to turn the now boarded-up Pickwick Inn, currently owned by Dyke, into a community asset. It has been signed by 170 people so far.

If the decision was granted, the community would have six weeks to make an offer and buy it from former BBC director general and former chairman of the FA.

The rural pub at St Ann’s Chapel, in Devon, has been closed since January and has been boarded up since July. It is still currently on the market.

Former BBC chief and millionaire Greg Dyke has been blasted by locals for abandoning The Pickwick Inn, at St Ann’s Chapel, Devon

Mr Dyke is chairman of Vine Hotels which has a portfolio of 13 properties including Dartmouth Hotel, Golf and Spa

Mr Dyke is chairman of Vine Hotels which has a portfolio of 13 properties including Dartmouth Hotel, Golf and Spa

Locals said that Mr Dyke has allowed it to become — a 'blot on the landscape'

Locals said that Mr Dyke has allowed it to become — a ‘blot on the landscape’

Locals have raised concerns that the site would be bought and turned into a housing development, which is what happened to another local pub, the Royal Oak, in 2013. 

Bigbury Parish Council has launched a petition to keep the pub, and has asked the South Hams District Council to make the building an asset of community value.

The petition has had support from over 170 people so far, and refers to the closed pub as ‘a blot on the landscape rather than the important community effort that it once was.’

It adds: ‘Whilst there has been interest from several parties in rescuing the pub, the owners of the property have been less than forthcoming in their replies to any offers.’

Locals have raised concerns that the pub would be bought and turned into a housing development

Locals have raised concerns that the pub would be bought and turned into a housing development

Locals have launched a petition to turn the now boarded-up Pickwick Inn into a community asset

Locals have launched a petition to turn the now boarded-up Pickwick Inn into a community asset

Councillor Stuart Watts said: ‘The pub is falling into disrepair, it’s a very sad state of affairs.

‘It’s in a very critical area, the location of the pub is amazing and both the locals and tourists really loved it as a place to get a drink and pub food.

‘I’ve had 170 emails in support of keeping the pub, we don’t need more housing unless it’s affordable housing.

‘The pub is important for people to get together, meet people and have a chat. It’s not just about getting a drink.

‘The support for the petition suggests that there would certainly be a customer base.

‘We need to see how the community asset decision goes and then take it from there, we’re taking it step by step.’

'I know what pubs mean for a community,' Mr Dyke said, adding that he wants it to remain as one 'but no-one was willing to pay the rent we were charging or anywhere near it'

‘I know what pubs mean for a community,’ Mr Dyke said, adding that he wants it to remain as one ‘but no-one was willing to pay the rent we were charging or anywhere near it’

The pub had been offered for sale to the parish council earlier this year, without a response, Mr Dyke said

The pub had been offered for sale to the parish council earlier this year, without a response, Mr Dyke said

Mr Dyke, chairman of Vine Hotels which has a portfolio of 13 properties including Dartmouth Hotel, Golf and Spa, told the BBC he bought the Pickwick four years ago as an investment.

He said the Pickwick closed in January after the tenants moved out unexpectedly.

The pub had been offered for sale to the parish council earlier this year, without a response, Mr Dyke said.

He added there had been offers to rent or buy the pub but none had been ‘anywhere realistic’.

‘I know what pubs mean for a community,’ he added.

‘We do not want it not to be a pub, but the market is terrible.

‘We want to keep it as a pub, but no-one was willing to pay the rent we were charging or anywhere near it.’

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