The KRA has been monitoring the activities connected to the Anchor. Earlier in the year we were made aware that the owners of the pub were looking to close the pub and after consultation with local Councillors they started to devlop plans to utilize the building for apartments and retail units.
In May the Surrey Hants Borders Branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) submitted an application for the Anchor to be registered as an asset of community value.
On 15 July Woking Borough Council judged that the case presented by CAMRA meant that the Anchor met the criteria and the Anchor Inn has been registered as a pub and an asset of community value.
What does this mean?
Basically the Anchor must remain a public house for as long as it is registered. The decision notice states that the Anchor will be registered for five years.
Does this mean that the Anchor will remain open for business for the next five years?
No, the owners can decide to close the pub if they feel that the finances do not make it worthwhile keeping the doors open. However if the owners do close the pub and advertise the premises for sale or to be leased the new owners or leaseholders must operate the building as a pub. So the plans to change the use of the building are put on hold.
Are there grounds to appeal the decision?
Our understanding is that only the landowner has the right to request a review of the decision. The landowner is Premier Pubs Estate Limited and they have until 15 September to submit a request for a review if they wish to challenge The decision.
What is the concern of the KRA?
If the Anchor remains open as a public house that’s OK, our concern is that if Merlin Inns, current operators of the Anchor, decide to pull out and Premier Pubs cannot attract a new pub management company they will close the pub and the building stands empty. Once a building is boarded up and essential maintenance ceases a building will soon start to deteriorate. You only have to look at The Meadows, the hospital building that stands next to the Nags Head to see how an empty building soon becomes a wreck.
So that is where things stand, currently the Anchor Inn remains open for business, for how long, that is up to Premier Pubs and Merlin Inns.
the full report on the Anchor can be found on the website for Woking Borough Council. Write community asset into the search engine.