Landlord celebrates as judge secures pub’s future

(From left) Abigail O'Donnell, Vernon Carlyle and Holly Lumsden. Photo by Derek Martin Photography
(From left) Abigail O'Donnell, Vernon Carlyle and Holly Lumsden. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

A publican has celebrated a judge’s decision that gives him security for the future.

Vernon Carlyle has run the Henty Arms in Ferring Lane, Ferring, for three years. His landlord is Punch Partnership, which owns the site.

Last year, the Arun and Adur Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) nominated the pub to be listed as an asset of community value by Arun District Council, meaning if it was to be sold by Punch, Vernon and fellow residents would have six months to put together money to buy it.

It was approved by Arun last summer – but Punch appealed the decision, claiming the Camra branch did not exist so could not make the nomination.

Now, Judge Anthony Snelson has dismissed the appeal, claiming the group has more than 700 members.

In his written conclusion, he said: “I am satisfied that this appeal is entirely free of merit. It is founded on an unduly narrow and unrealistic interpretation of legislation which, it should be remembered, was designed to be accessible to citizens from all walks of life.”

Vernon, 65, said there were no plans to close the pub, but added: “It gives me a bit of security in case it was sold under my feet.

“My pub is basically the hub of the village: it is somewhere for people to come and meet and it generates lots of work for local people.”

Peter Brereton, former chairman of Camra’s Arun and Adur branch, said he was ‘delighted’ by the outcome: “Too many pubs are being closed and redeveloped without a care for assets of community value.

“I hope our success on this case persuades others from embarking on similar community asset stripping.”

An Arun spokesman said: “We are pleased that our decision regarding the Henty Arms has withstood scrutiny by the judge and been supported.”