Protesters who travelled to Burton-upon-Trent yesterday to seek answers from a brewery who are set to close their beloved 172-year-old local pub, The Rothschild Arms, have won a major victory by gaining an extension to the closure date.
Setting off early in the morning, 40 ‘Save The Roths’ campaigners, made up of residents from Aston Clinton, travelled to the headquarters of the brewery, Punch Taverns, donning ‘Save The Roths’ t-shirts to urge them to reconsider their decision to sell the pub to a property developer.
We met the group as they returned to the pub from their trip yesterday evening and they told us that their ‘wish list’ of; being heard, getting them to agree to a sit down meeting, and extending the pub closure deadline to allow them to make their case had all been achieved.
A spokesperson for Save The Roths said:
“We were requesting a second meeting and they've given it to us. We also understand that though the original closure date was 2 September, they are going to extend it.”
The protesters were keen to express how well they were treated by Punch. The spokesperson explained:
“When we arrived, the gate opened, a guy came out and said no photos but come in, we've got tea and coffee, you've had a long journey. Lovely, hospitable.”
Indeed Clive Chesser, CEO of Punch did meet the group and make a statement, which you can read here: Punch Statement
Somewhat insensitively, Punch had sent out flyers last week, including to the Rothschild Arms, boasting about their passion for keeping local pubs open. The campaigners cleverly turned this to their advantage, taking the flyers back to Punch headquarters.
A spokesperson for the group said that they told Punch:
“This is your campaign, these are your posters that we've brought back to you, demonstrate this by saving our pub.”
“I said, we've got one coach load of people here today, we'll bring ten next time!”
The situation currently, as alluded to in Punch’s statement, is that Aston Clinton parish council leader Liz Tubb, on behalf of Save The Roths, has applied for a judicial review of the plans to develop the pub.
Both parties are hoping that this legal process won’t be necessary, and a without prejudice meeting has been scheduled for next Thursday between Ms Tubb and Punch Taverns’ management team.
We also spoke to Ms Tubb about the day of protest and subsequent events. She said:
"We were all absolutely delighted. We felt real progress had been made. We know it's baby steps, we don't know what's going to happen next, but we felt we had actually achieved something.
"It's all very positive - it shows what you can do if you get on a bus and put on a few t-shirts."
“Do I think we can win? Yeah I do.”