10/17/2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

The Rock and Fountain Inn, Craig Cefn Parc (pic by Richard Youle and free for use for all BBC wire partners)

Only pub in the village up for sale

THE owner of the only pub in a Swansea Valley village is hoping someone will buy it after he tried unsuccessfully to gain residential use for the building.

Dewald Waso said the Rock and Fountain Inn, Craigcefnparc, had started losing money before the coronavirus pandemic.

It was six years ago that Mr Waso and his wife sold their property in England, where they lived, to buy the pub for £235,000.

It made a profit for the first two years but then lost money after that.

The couple put it on the market for £275,000 in 2019, and then applied the following year to Swansea Council for residential use.

The council turned down the application, which Mr Waso appealed.

A Welsh Government-appointed planning inspector has now said that the change of use “would result in the unacceptable loss of a community facility of local value”.

Scores of local people were against the proposed residential use.

One of them, Gareth Watson, a member of the pub darts team, said all age groups socialised there and that community spirit built up over the years would be lost.

“We will become basically a ghost town,” he said.

Mawr Community Council also objected, saying the village had already lost its school and post office.

The planning inspector said it was unclear why turnover and profits had declined.

“The appellant cites general pressures on the pub trade, including changes in consumer habits and a decline in beer sales, and submits that the accounts demonstrate that the pub has not been well supported in recent years by the local community,” said the inspector’s report.

“However, representations from local residents link the decline to aspects of the way the pub has been run, including reduced opening hours.”

Mr Waso said it was an unfortunate situation and that he would work with his planning consultant to consider options.

He added: “The pub is still for sale. Anyone who is interested, I would be happy to sell it for a reasonable asking price.”

The asking price is now £260,000.

Mr Waso said he had looked into adding a kitchen a while back but was deterred by the £50,000 estimate.

The inspector said installing a kitchen remained a possible option for broadening the Rock and Fountain’s appeal, and that the marketing period had not been sufficient to satisfy the relevant planning policy.

Mr Waso, 49, said he had intended at the outset to run the pub until he retired, but that the situation had changed. Profit margins were tight, he said, and getting worse.

The inspector, who also dismissed an appeal for costs, said they were “not unsympathetic to the appellant’s position”.

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