One village celebrates saving its pub - while another fears its local could be knocked down

The new licensees of a village pub, saved from closure, have said they are excited to be involved in the new chapter in the life of the building.

The Woodcock in Cockshutt, formerly known as the Leaking Tap
The Woodcock in Cockshutt, formerly known as the Leaking Tap

Zoe Taylor and Michaela Bath who are now behind the bar at the newly named Woodcock Inn, Cockshutt, formerly the Leaking Tap, have both had careers in the hospitality and tourism industry in Shropshire.

They say they are keen to welcome not only locals and those who live nearby but also those on day trips and holidays in north Shropshire.

"It was really tired and run-down when we first had a look around," Zoe said.

"We have all worked really hard to bring the pub back to life. We have a new menu and our already popular Sunday lunch."

Michaela said: "It is a new era and chapter for the pub and we’re ready to make it special. We are keen to get some events going, things that local people want to see, for all to enjoy."

The pub started its life as The Red Lion, built as a Coaching Inn in 1860 to accommodate waggoners and coaches along what is now known as the A528 – a busy trade route between Shrewsbury, Chester and Liverpool.

The new name harks back to when the Woodcock game bird was caught in the countryside around the village of Cockshutt.

Pub owner, Alwena Roberts, said: "The meaning of the word Cockshutt translates to a net that the woodcock were caught in."

The Horsehoes Inn in Pontesbury. Photo: Google

News of the pub being saved came as plans to demolish a village pub in Pontesbury and build four houses in its place were given the green light.

The Horseshoes Inn in Pontesbury has been up for sale for three years, prompting landlady Teresa Challenor to seek planning permission for an alternative use for the site.

The scheme was granted outline approval by Shropshire Council’s southern planning committee at a meeting on Tuesday – but Ms Challenor has said she does not intend to go through with the plans.

Councillor Nick Hignett, who represents the Rea Valley division which encompasses Pontesbury and Minsterley, spoke at the meeting against the proposals.

Mrs Challoner’s planning consultant Mike Lloyd of Berrys said she bought the pub with her late husband in 2016, but he fell ill shortly afterwards, prompting them to put it back on the market.

“Since her husband’s passing in early 2019 Teresa has has had to run the pub by herself, at a time when the UK pub trade has been in general decline, which has obviously been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“The future appears bleak for the pub, and the pub trade more generally."

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