Monksilver pub saved by Localism Act restored to former glory - and success (From Somerset County Gazette)
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Monksilver pub saved by Localism Act restored to former glory - and success
ATTENTION to detail, responding to feedback and supporting the local economy are all key to the Notley Arms’ recent success.
Now reinstated as the social hub of Monksilver, it is believed the pub is the first in the country to be saved as a result of new legislation, combined with determination and hard work of villagers.
Its doors were closed last September and former owner Colin Wilkins had hoped to convert the site into housing.
But, under the Localism Act, West Somerset Council accepted a nomination made by members of the parish council and a specially-formed action group to list it as a community asset, which meant it could not be put on the market as anything but a pub for six months.
Now, Simon and Caroline Murphy have restored it to its former glory, just over three months after buying it.
Retired civil servant Mr Murphy said: “Everyone seems overjoyed – the Notley Arms is so well-loved. This is our first pub and we wanted to edge into it gently, but we had 350 people in on the first night.
“The locals protected the building from development, so when we came in we asked people what they wanted and we have responded. We want the Notley to be the hub of the community.
“We only bought it at the end of April and the place was in a terrible condition, so we are investing the money now.
“We have really tried to do the work as sympathetically as possible, while maintaining the heritage of the pub and ensuring the building’s long-term vitality.”
As part of the revamp, they have bought several piecesby West Somerset artists and aim to further support the West Somerset economy by sourcing as many ingredients as possible locally.
In addition to trying to keep villagers happy, the couple recognise their location on the Coleridge Way, so have various things in place to cater for walkers – and even their dogs.
Six en-suite rooms are also nearing completion but there are still more exciting ideas in the pipeline, such as opening a village shop to the rear.
Ross Urquhart, clerk to Monksilver Parish Council, said: “Simon and Caroline couldn’t have done any better for the community in terms of drinks prices, quality of food and the ambience.
“They are so enthusiastic and community-minded. They’re heaven-sent. They sold off a lot of furniture that was left by the previous owners and raised £1,500, which they donated to the church clock appeal.
“The pub is full every evening – it’s a real turnaround.
“They have restored the pub brilliantly and now having a village shop would be a great idea – we haven’t had one since the 1960s.”
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