Threat to a century of licensing in North Devon

Pub landlords’ group may have to fold if more members can’t be found.

AN organisation that has helped protect the interests of local pub landlords for more than a century could have to call time on its activities unless new members can be found.

Barnstaple and North Devon Licensed Victuallers Association represents licensees from pubs and clubs across the region, but in recent years its membership has dwindled to eight people.

Now the committee is hoping new members can be recruited at a meeting on Wednesday, May 16 hosted by the Beaver Inn, Appledore from 3pm.

Secretary Jean Knill, who used to run the White Lion in Braunton, said the decline was because so many businesses were managed nowadays rather than independently owned.

“But the managers are welcome too and we will take anyone who is in the licensing trade. We have been going for more than 100 years and we do not want it to fold,” she said.

“Any licensee is welcome to come along to the meeting to find out what it is all about.”

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Group chairman Justin Matthews is landlord of the Cavalier Inn at Torrington and leases the premises off Enterprise Inns.

“There were 15 members when I started and membership has helped us along and given us confidence as well,” he said.

“It’s a shame because the association is needed. Licensees can help each other – it’s a hard trade at the moment and if people can get together we can come up with some great ideas that will help save money.

“If you have a problem, someone will always know somebody who can help.”

All licensees are welcome to attend the May 16 meeting in Appledore, or to find out more, call Jean Knill on 01271 344057, or Justin Matthews 01805 623832.

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