The villagers of Sutton-on-the-Forest have succeeded in saving the last pub in their village – the “Rose &Crown” - after a prolonged battle since November 2015.

When the pub closed, Sutton resident David Brown formed the “Friends of the Rose & Crown” to lead the fight for the pub’s survival. The Parish Council helped enormously by successfully applying for the pub to be listed as an Asset of Community Value thereby preventing the pub site being developed for other purposes. Shortly afterwards a Community Interest Company (CIC) was formed which effectively gave the village community “first refusal” for buying the freehold for 6 months.

A lease on the pub was taken up in March 2016 by a previous owner but this proved to be a false dawn when the tenant left suddenly in October. “Suddenly, we were back to square one” said CIC Chairman, John Lister. “We were doubtful of our chances of raising enough money to buy the freehold and, with so many other pubs on the market in North Yorkshire, there was little interest from anyone else. So, we were really grateful when Collette Willetts (pictured in the dining room of the Rose and Crown) came forward as a prospective tenant. Collette used to work in the pub and had set her heart on returning either as a tenant or as the owner. However, she had just sunk all her capital into “Beautopia” in Gillygate so she needed help to buy the lease and help with working capital.

“Collette and the CIC described their plan for the pub at a public meeting and afterwards the village showed tremendous community spirit by raising over £30,000. In effect, the community saw a line in the sand – on one side was a suburb to the north of York and on the other was a strong village community.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work still to be done but, all being well, Collette will re-open the “Rose and Crown” at 5pm on Friday 9 December with a new menu, great offers for Christmas lunch and New Year’s Eve and a plan for an exciting future with the pub at the heart of a village community. With support from Collette’s fiancé Tom and her brother Neil as head chef there will be great ‘family business’ support in the pub.

“Many people have helped with this achievement – David Brown and Maurice Jones who set up the ‘Friends of the Rose and Crown’, the Parish Council and Mark Raven, Anthony Chappell, Paddy Harrop, Grace Nodes and Michael Kitchen who have made a tremendous contribution to the CIC. Also, the people of Huby and Stillington who saved their shops for the community have given us great advice and invested in the pub. Good luck Collette!”

About The Author

Catherine Scott is Associate Features Editor for Yorkshire Post Newspapers. A self-confessed foodie, she is also a judge of the Deliciousyorkshire/Yorkshire Post Taste Awards.

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