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Hopes high in fight to save Exeter pub

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

By Tom Bevan

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MORE than 1,000 people have registered their objections to plans to bulldoze a popular community pub in Exeter.

Campaign organiser Becky Hicks said she has been overwhelmed by the support, and that she was feeling confident that the 82-year-old Queen's Head in Pinhoe Road would now be saved.

The owner, Spirit Pub Company, recently sold the pub to Farm Foods in a silent auction.

The current landlords, who say they were narrowly outbid, feel they could take over the pub and run it as a viable community facility.

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A planning application has been submitted to Exeter City Council by Farm Foods with the committee likely to make a decision at its meeting on February 18. And Miss Hicks, who said they have managed to collect around 30 pages of signatures alongside scores of individual objections, said she was hopeful of a positive outcome.

She said: "I really didn't think I would get so many people helping to support the campaign. I am quite chuffed. I am very confident now that it is going the way I wanted it to. All our efforts are now concentrated on the planning meeting, which we expect to be in February.

"The landlord is going to speak at that meeting about the financial side of things, and a local councillor is also going to speak on our behalf.

"I am meeting with MP Ben Bradshaw, and he said he will see what he can do to help. The local councillors have also been really good and have come down and met with everyone. We have had great support but are just waiting to see what happens next.

"This place has been a lot of people's local for more than 40 years. I cannot believe they are trying to claim it is not a viable business when it is.

"This is not just a pub – it is like the local community hall."

The campaigners hope that the application will be rejected not just because of the loss of a popular community amenity but also because of highway safety concerns.

A spokesman for the Spirit Pub Company said: "Following a review of our pub estate the Queen's Head Hotel was marketed for sale.

"We have now exchanged unconditional contracts after receiving best and final offers for the site. We are unable to comment on future plans for the site following the sale."

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