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Issue 59 – November 2005

 

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Contents

 

EDITORIAL Hop Press index

This edition of Hop Press would normally have end papers advertising our annual Eastleigh Beer Festival. Unhappily, after twenty-two successful years, the event seems to be no more - unless some new location can be found.

The first event, in autumn 1983, took place in the atrium of the Crestwood school, during an extreme weather spell - it was below freezing inside on the Saturday, the jazz band played in gloves! The next year we secured our perfect venue, Eastleigh's old town hall - spacious, atmospheric, very close to transport and at a fair price. Like all good things this came to an end some years later when the Eastleigh Council decided that high art would put the town on the map and the old town hall was transformed into the Point Dance Centre. Eastleigh's ratepayers have mixed views on the success of the venture.

Refugees from our town centre site, we ended up almost out of the borough at the Nightingale Centre. This utilitarian, boxlike hall seemed an unpromising venue, being so far from the town centre transport links and having nearly zero ambience. But, it was very easy to work and our loyal customers followed us there. For more than a decade a thousand or so of you have joined us there each autumn, we are very sorry not to be able to make the rendezvous any more.

Despite being very under used and, from the published accounts, losing money year on year (not the best thing for a registered charity) the management have decided not to take any more bookings from us. The Centre will now be used in the daytime by a pre-school play group, which was the reason for our booking deposit to be returned without warning this August. That we have been almost certainly their best single booking fee for many years and that we would only have needed to negotiate one day out in the whole year for toddlers seems not to have been given any consideration.

If we can find anywhere suitable for 2006, we will, like Arnie, be back!


November 24th, when the new Licensing Act finally comes into full effect is nearly upon us. The article on page 10 gives some indications on how the local authorities in Southern Hampshire are coping so far.

One thing can be said for certain, and it was something totally overlooked by those draughting the 2003 Act. It will be utterly confusing to the public unless some more or less universal and obligatory system is adopted for all pubs to display their hours outside of the premises. This seems so obvious, now that universal 'permitted hours' are about to vanish, that its omission from the Act is hard to understand. This is even more so when one considers that the multiplicity of closing times and a more relaxed drinking up time regime have been heavily promoted as steps towards alleviating our street disorder problems.

The Act still has to get into force of course and now, even at this very last minute, an unprincipled combination of the opposition parties are trying to devise an extraordinary subterfuge to stop it. To bring the Act into operation on its appointed day requires an administrative measure - an 'Order in Council.' These are routine and just part of our somewhat archaic, cranky government system. Now, their plan is a threat to oppose this Order, something almost unprecedented in parliamentary history. Should this succeed the whole licensing system could collapse into total chaos.

Given the months of debate and committee hearings, over several years, that went into the new Act, to try to reverse it now by such a piece of parliamentary trickery is totally outrageous.


The lengthy saga of the Bugle at Twyford reached some sort of a conclusion, or at least a turning point, a few weeks ago. After many hearings the Winchester planning committee finally agreed to let owners Inntown build four houses in front of the boarded up pub. As a sop to the many hundreds of Twyford residents who had objected they added a rather pathetic clause asking for the pub to reopen before any houses are occupied.

What odds would William Hill give on the chance of that ever coming to pass? With the pub's parking spaces reduced to about a dozen slots (for both staff and customers), with the frontage almost completely obscured by a row of houses, with the closure being by then probably over two years old and with the size of the bars quite seriously reduced, we would be very pessimistic of the pub having any long-term viability.

Which, of course, is exactly what Inntown want. No doubt they do intend some sort of reopening, perhaps after taking a substantial sum from a hopeful incoming licensee, and then they will sit back and wait for the onset of Carey Street. A quick application to de-licence, coupled to a plan for residential conversion will then follow as night follows day.

Only dedicated pub goers can thwart their intentions. If the Bugle really does reopen, people must use it. Despite profits going into Inntown's coffers it will still stymie their main aim in business which is simply to generate capital by exploiting a non-renewable resource - our traditional pub stock.


We all 'know' from the constant propaganda of the international brewers and ersatz lager factories, that cask conditioned beer is a dead duck, finished, passé, no more etc. etc. With this wisdom firmly in mind it is faintly mystifying to observe the growth of the pub real ale festival movement.

As a glance at adverts in any local paper will show, there are ever more being organised and they are becoming ever larger. In just the past few weeks, to mention but a few, the Mill Arms at Dunbridge had well over a thousand customers and put paid to some 75 firkins of beer, the Royal Oak at Fritham used over 50 and the Flowerpots at Cheriton an almost unbelievable total in excess of 150 casks - which is something like three-quarters the size of our Southampton Guildhall event! And we congratulate ourselves on our efforts to stage that as being our 'big one.'

It is a good job then that, apparently, there is no call for real ale any more...

 

FOOTBALL & REAL ALE Hop Press index

Rob Whatley

The Richard I in Greenwich, the Navigation Inn, Blackburn and the Jolly Angler in Manchester are just three of the pubs that will not be visited by large groups of Saints fans this season. While these favourite haunts will be missed, last season's relegation does give the beer loving Saints fan the opportunity to visit many new pubs when travelling to away matches. The good news is that author Richard Steadman, football and good ale enthusiast, has published a set of new guides to pubs for the real ale loving football fan.

Most guides to watering holes for travelling fans tend to concentrate on pubs close to the ground or in the town centres and the quality of the beer or even the availability of real ale at all rarely gets a mention. Thus in the past preparing a trip to a new away ground has involved going through the Good Beer Guide and then inputting the postcodes of the pubs and of the ground into 'Multimap' in order to plan the day's entertainment. The Football and Real Ale Guide 2005-2006 means that such a task is no longer necessary.

It is a guide of four quarters, as there is a separate book for each of the four main divisions in England. The guide lists three pubs for each town featured. In Southampton the pubs featured are the Platform Tavern, the South Western and the Crown in Highfield. This selection is fairly typical of the pubs suggested for each team. Many of the selections include a pub such as the Crown, which is some way from the football ground but in which the visitor can obtain good beer and food before the match in a less frantic atmosphere than can be found in many city centre pubs before a match.

The guide scores over the Good Beer Guide in that it has pictures of every pub and a more comprehensive description, which includes the type of atmosphere and comfort that the visitor can expect to find on match days. All the pubs featured have been visited by the author in the last twelve months but the descriptions also include input from other well travelled football fans.

The guide would make a good birthday or Christmas present for any football fan. And with a bit of luck, at the end of this season Saints fans will be able to swap their Championship editions with fans from the eastern end of the M27 who will no longer be requiring their Premiership copies!

The Football and Real Ale Guide 2005- 2006, written by Richard Steadman is published by Stedders Guides. They are available from CAMRA at:

230 Hatfield Rd.,
St. Albans,
Herts.
AL1 4LW
Tel. 01727 867201
www.camra.org.uk/books

By post each of the four guides costs £6.50, with a discount price of £5.50 for CAMRA members. All four guides are on special offer for £17.00. These prices include all post and packing.

 

WALKING & DRINKING (3) Hop Press index

Ray Massey

Last autumn I suggested a circular New Forest walk based on The Royal Oak at Fritham. This year I would like to suggest a walk based on another fine pub in the eastern part of the Forest - The Oak at Bank, just west of Lyndhurst. The Oak , a free house and long time Good Beer Guide entry, is a fine place to start and/or end the walk, with a selection of four or five beers, many from small breweries, and an extensive menu.

Bank is easy to reach by the X34/X35 bus (Wilts and Dorset, two hourly service) from Southampton via Lyndhurst; so what I have in mind is a walk from Bank back to Lyndhurst. Car users can either park in Lyndhurst and catch the bus out to Bank (walking to Bank is only recommended along Pinkney Lane from SW Lyndhurst, the A35 roadside footpath ends at Swan Green), or park near the pub, and walk half as far as required, and then retrace the route back to the pub. (This could prove to be quite an interesting memory test.)

So, the walk itself: Turn sharp right out of the pub away from the A35, along the public road (Pinkney Lane) past the very pleasant houses of Bank hamlet. Bend sharp left by the pillar box and go slightly downhill. The forest appears on the right, and then the road goes steeply uphill, bending left. There is an idyllic glimpse to the left of Lyndhurst church steeple. The road bends sharp left again, across a cattle grid; then immediately afterwards you turn right, off the road through a forest gate, onto a forest road and cycle route.

Continue ahead with straight oak, beech and chestnut trees on both sides. Take the first turn left after about 300 yards, along a green ride, straight at first, then gently curving left and going downhill, eventually to cross a muddy bottom. Now a tricky bit: continue straight ahead and steeply uphill, past a small pit on the left, on a very small earthen path for about 60 yards. At the top of the rise, turn right along a very pleasant grassy path. When the path starts to descend a large open space can be seen in the distance. Continue gently downhill towards the open plain. Just after entering it you reach a large earth track running from back left to front right. Turn sharp left along this earth track.

Walk along this track until a fence is clear ahead. The track leads to a large gate in a fence, ignore this gate and bend right before it, so that the fence is on your left. You are now walking down the eastern side of the large open area. Keep the fence on your left, and continue past a small gate in the fence.

Continue, keeping close to the fence. When you cross a culvert in a ditch turn sharp left to meet the fence again which has also taken a right-angle turn to the left. Continue gently uphill, still with the fence on your left. Traffic noise from the A337 Lyndhurst to Brockenhurst road may begin to intrude. The path gets larger and better defined. Soon after buildings appear on the far side of the fence and you reach the forest road from Coxlease School. Turn right along this road and follow it onto the main Lyndhurst - Brockenhurst road (A337).

At the A337 (Clay Hill) turn left, and either walk back to Lyndhurst along the main road, or catch the number 56 bus (an hourly or better afternoon service but with very few on Sundays) back to Lyndhurst or Southampton, or continue the walk. Whatever you choose there is always the possibility of a short detour 200 yards North on the A337 to The Crown Stirrup (note: there is no and in the name).

To continue the walk, cross the A337, and walk to the first gate into the forest, labelled 'no through route for cyclists' at the top of the hill. Go past the small Parkgrounds Cottage, through the gate and continue ahead ignoring two cross tracks as the forest road becomes an unsurfaced but sound ride gently curving right. At a Tjunction of rides turn left onto the major one, again curving gently right and slightly downhill. Soon you will see a gate ahead. Go through it and turn right on a broad forest road (Beechen Lane) with a deerproof fence now on your left. The road is straight and goes steadily downhill to cross a small stream.

Soon after the stream, the fence on your left bends left, and the woodland on your left becomes more open. Turn left into this woodland keeping the high fence on your left. The forest ahead may look vague and pathless, but as long as you keep the fence in sight you will have no problem. The land slopes gently downhill, and although it can get damp in parts it should be easy to find a dry route through the glades. After about 500 yards the forest on the far side of the fence ends, to be replaced by the parkland pasture of Parkhill. Continue for another 300 yards, still with the fence on your left, until you come to a large open grassy area - Parkhill Lawn. Bear left towards Park Dale Cottage, and then right along the track from the cottage edging the open area, still with the fence on your left. The track becomes a forest road and bends slightly left where a farm track joins from the right. Soon the forest road crosses a stream, becomes a metalled road, and bends left. Head for a pillar box at its junction with the B3056 Lyndhurst Beaulieu Road (by the Parkhill Hotel sign).

Cross the road and head diagonally left along a variable path that rises gently to a broad ridge. Turn left along the ridge and walk parallel to the road you have just crossed. Continue on the top of the ridge all the way back to Lyndhurst with its multiplicity of hostelries.

Note on maps:

I definitely recommend the OS 1:25,000 maps for walking. The New Forest is on Explorer OL 22. Gorman's Map Centre in Freemantle near the Shirley Road/Payne's Road junction carries a good supply and it is not far from The Waterloo Arms either!

Note on seasons:

The walk is best in sunny autumn weather, when the leaves and bracken are most colourful. Unfortunately, that has probably passed for this year but this walk, like most, is also good in winter and spring when the lack of leaves means you can see further.

Note on times:

Each third of the walk is about 1½ fairly easy miles, so the full walk takes almost 2 hours.

 

REMEMBER, REMEMBER, THE 24th OF NOVEMBER? Hop Press index

Pat O'Neill

November 24th, 2005 is a date for pub goers to remember for many years to come. It is, in the jargon beloved of civil servants, 'the second appointed day.' Not quite the second coming perhaps but somewhat more accurately prophesied. It is the date on which the 2003 Licensing Act finally comes into full operation, sweeping away several centuries of a ramshackle assembly of old statutes.

Hop Press readers cannot fail to have noticed that the tabloid press, followed recently by the (now, mostly, inaptly named) broadsheets, have been conducting a relentless campaign of increasing shrillness predicting a new era of excess, outdoing anything achieved by the inhabitants of either Sodom or Gomorra! '24-hour boozing' 'Stop this drinking madness' 'Kill this Bill' the headlines cry. Are there any seeds of truth buried in the midden of invective?

The first point to make is that the new Act, all 175 pages of it, is a vast piece of legislation but all of the hysteria is over just a few paragraphs outlining how pub opening hours are to be determined. The centuries of old laws saw this area with a Calvinist view that drink equalled sin and thus, if it could not be eliminated entirely, (the preferable course) it should only be permitted grudgingly. The new Act's roots are set in the more modern concepts of human rights, constraints are now only based on definable ideas of agreed common good. This has been completely (some might even suggest mischievously) misunderstood by the press who have assiduously spread the false notion that every other pub will be open twenty- four hours a day. Nothing of the sort is going to occur. The majority of pub users will hardly notice any change from Wednesday, November 23rd to Friday, November 25th.

To initialise the new law, every pub, club, off-licence and so forth has had to register with their local authority all the details of their premises and how they plan to conduct their businesses, especially (but by no means exclusively) when drinks will be on sale and when the premises will be open. Details of these applications are public property and can be found on the various local authorities' web sites. Studying these as they have been coming in over the summer months leads to some general conclusions, at least for the Southern Hampshire area:

• Most pubs want to extend their evening selling by an hour, from eleven until midnight, although the fact of an application does not mean that they will all implement these hours. However, there is still a significant minority for whom 11 pm is quite enough.

• Although the new laws no longer contain any 'drinking-up time' concept, almost all pubs are allowing for half an hour between the end of drink sales and closing up.

• Morning opening will not change much, ten seems to be the preferred time, although many will, as at present, not avail themselves of this allowance and still remain firmly closed until midday. A very small number have asked for an earlier start for some type of breakfast service.

• A significant number are wanting to serve until one am on Fridays and/or Saturdays but of these many do not intend to use this time every week, qualifications such as 'up to twelve times per year' are common.

• The old religious aspects of Sunday will at last be virtually gone, most applications have lumped Sunday timings in with the other days of the week.

Neither a revolution nor a descent into unmitigated debauchery then! Just a modest change that will have, of itself, little or no impact on the Nation's unquestioned problems with immoderate drinking. These stem from brewers' (now more accurately, pub companies') greed and foolishness in the marketing of drink and the design of pubs respectively. Popular culture, reflected by an uncritical media, does little to help, glorifying so-called celebrities in their behaviour, however unsavoury (perhaps we need a new offence from this government of 'glorification of intemperate behaviour?').

A completely unreported aspect of the build up to November 24th has been the great financial cost to licensees, something to which no red-top editor has given any thoughts - if the law was abandoned now, how would they be compensated? Every establishment in the land has had to apply to retain its licence, with the appropriate fee of course. The fee range (based on rateable value) is from £100 to £635 with up to another £120 if even the slightest change is involved. Any such change also requires a mandatory newspaper advertisement (£150-£250) and every application has to be accompanied by a professionally drawn set of building plans (several hundred pounds more?). Lastly, of course, most licensees felt that the twenty plus page form should be filled in by their solicitor, for another £100 at least. Thus even a modest, street-corner pub will have spent something between £500 and £1000 moving into this new era.

Any reversal of the law would land the Government with a compensation bill of more than £50 million from this source alone. An even larger sum would be due to the local authorities who have spent large sums of our council tax on setting up their new licensing departments. It is conceivable that reversing this Act could total a boggling cost of a quarter billion pounds! Which probably goes a long way to explaining why this populist Government, usually so attentive to the views of the Mail or Sun editors, are not moving in this instance.

In passing the control of all licensing matters from the magistracy to local authorities one obvious danger was that bureaucracy would proliferate. This seems to be coming true to some extent, as some examples demonstrate: In Southampton, as of the fourth week in October, the register of certificate applications contained 52 pages (and did not include many of the 35% of applications that came in during the last week before the August deadline). But, the register of certificates issued was only 7 pages. For Eastleigh things seem much the same - 36 pages of applications and 6 pages of completed certificates. In Winchester the registers are yet to appear on their web site at all and the Chairman of the Licensing Committee was unable (in early September) to say when they might. When asked in mid-October when certificates might be sent out, a Winchester staff member said "We're going to start designing them next week..." Shortage of staff is one clear reason for delay - when an Eastleigh entry was handed in at reception the comment was "no need to specifically address it, there's only one person dealing with them all."

Another factor slowing the system is the procedure for canvassing comments and objections. Under the old system licensing matters were basically the province of the magistrates and the police with any other parties free to attend the court and speak out as required. Now, as well as being advertised to the public as before, copies of applications have to sent to a host of other bodies (Police, the Fire Service, Social Services, the Planning Department, Trading Standards and the Environmental Health Department) who are expected to comment before the application is determined. If anything other than a null response is received or if any letter of objection from the public arrives then the application has to have a public hearing at a Licensing Subcommittee. Currently most of our Southern Hampshire authorities are holding several of these meetings per week, each dealing with one or two applications. Finishing by November could be a close run thing.

The subcommittees are made up of just three councillors and one or more of the paid officers. The legislation is quite tightly drawn in respect of what matters may and may not be considered, yet there are quite large variations in the decisions being made. In Eastleigh for example, the Arrow, in a very residential area, was allowed to stay open until 1 am with drinking up until 2 am for much of the week, despite a three page submission against this from the police. Yet the Master Builder at West End, in a no more residential situation and only asking to serve until midnight, had its request for an hour of drinking up immediately rejected.

For anyone aggrieved with the results of a panel hearing, either applicant or objector, the next avenue open is to appeal the decision. It is at this stage that the process transfers to the legal sphere, appeals are heard, initially, by the magistrates and could in theory progress up through the system to the highest courts of appeal. At the moment it is too early to say how well this will work although it is thought that the objectors to Winchester's Fulflood Arms are taking the initial step (even though the application was quite modest).

Finally, as a slight indicator of the pitfalls along the road to introducing the legislation it is worth looking through the registers for the applications that have been rejected as 'invalid.' Happily for the applicants there are not too many of these but it seems more than a little unlucky that both Southampton and Eastleigh councils have thrown out their own flagship efforts. Both the Southampton Civic Centre's Guildhall and Eastleigh's old town hall Point Centre are listed as being invalid applications! Southampton's web site is decorously silent on the reasons but Eastleigh exposes all, listing amongst other things, 'application incompletely filled out' and 'fee incorrect.'

 

COMPETITION CROSSWORD Hop Press index

QUETZALCOATL   (printable version here 84KB download)

Crossword Grid

Across

1. Dip down, all in, washed out! (6)

4. Refuses to take card for foul play (6)

9. Exercise: fit 'agog' into word play (6,3,5)

10. Nourishing nibbles from 6 and 6 less 9 (6)

11. Spoke about fitness regime that totally worked (8)

12. Hundreds come back to betray MP (8)

14. Can king and queen fiddle? (6)

15. Early hush before electricity flows (6)

18. Residue without a knotted kerchief? (8)

21. Saw an angry scene change (8)

22. No disgust shown at square circle (6)

24. Instructions to players: move to creating sides (5,10)

25. Old fool puts stop to a road (6)

26. Hunt for a second class raptor (6)

Down

1. Plainer, nutty chocolate (7)

2. Hic est (5)

3. One iris used to freshen the air (7)

5. High explosive shell cut in agony (7)

6. Early European man has spot to sing about (9)

7. Balkan novels translated to English (7)

8. Share offer all at sea (6)

13, Supervision has ended normal vision (9)

16. Deserved to hear Edward is jolly (7)

17. He makes recondite transliterations without it (7)

18. Witty reply about wrongdoing (6)

19. Cuff Maclean! Treacherous (7)

20. Improve hen with cane work (7)

23. Drug taking? Turn to tell all! (6)

Prizes to the first two correct entries drawn. Closing date: 16th January 2006.

Send to:

Hop Press
1 Surbiton Road
Eastleigh,
Hants.
SO50 4HY

Spring Crossword: Solution & Winners

June Crossword Answers
Sixteen entries, but three had errors, in the June alphabetical jigsaw. The 'H' entry caught several, although I did not think it one of the harder clues. Many entrants appreciated the alphabetical type puzzle and added pleasant comments but only one long time contestant went so far as to suggest that revamping the clues into rhyming couplets (with amended version attached) would be a crowning enhancement!

Winners drawn from the hat, and both names that have featured here before, are:
Trevor Crowther, Winchester.
J. E. Green, St. Albans.

Other correct solutions were received from: Nigel Cook; K W Crawford; Roy Garraway; Bob Howes; A G K Leonard; Ash Mather; Howard Owen; 'Paddy O'Ringwood'; Rachel Palmer; Tim Parkinson; Harvey Saunders.

 

WHAT IS A PUB? Hop Press index

Rob Whatley

Each year CAMRA conducts a national survey that looks at the number of pubs that have opened and closed during the previous 12 months. The task of completing the survey form has become more difficult in recent years. Pub closures are usually the more straightforward bit. Many of them close under a blaze of publicity and local protest. More rarely they close quietly with barely a murmur. The Mayflower in Castle Way, Southampton is a recent example of such. One of the more difficult aspects of maintaining accurate records is when they suffer a long lingering death, such as the Elephant and Castle in Sholing. The first planning application that threatened the future of this pub was submitted in April 2003 and since then the future had been uncertain up until its recent demolition. The last pub survey had to be completed during this period, when the pub had closed but there was still a lingering possibility that it would reopen. In terms of completing the survey, however, it is the count of new pubs or the refurbishment of existing pubs that presents the major difficulties - the main problem being 'what is a pub?'

Until fairly recently this was not a difficult question to answer but over the last 20 years or so the type of establishments in which people drink alcohol have become very much more diverse. At one time a pub was a pub and a restaurant was a completely different animal. Pubs sold mainly beer and spirits and, other than at weekends, the majority of the clientele were male. Restaurants were places for eating, where wine was the prevalent alcoholic beverage. Only in a few big cities there were strange creations called wine bars in areas such as Fleet Street.

Berni Inns were probably the first attempt by a brewer to break down this strict divide. They were aimed mainly at customers who would not normally consider a visit to a restaurant and were mostly established in large existing pubs, especially the 1930s 'road houses.' Many copies followed such as Beefeaters, Harvesters, Toby Carveries, Roast Inns (the first of which was the Fishers Pond) and Brewers Fayres. At the same time as these chains were springing up, rural pubs were losing trade. Reasons included many villages becoming dormitory areas in which fewer people worked locally in agriculture and the introduction of the breathalyser. One way these rural pubs were able to fight back was to put the emphasis more on food. As a result, some country pubs found that they were making more of a profit out of food than drink.

Meanwhile, in the urban areas we have seen the introduction of the mega-pub and the 'circuit drinking' culture. While there have been town centre circuits for many years, if not always, it is the sheer scale of these new establishments and thus the number of customers on the circuit, that has led to a changing pattern of pub going and of pub styles. Following the introduction of the likes of Wetherspoons, Yates and Hogsheads a new type of drinking establishment began to appear - the bar.

In Ireland and Scotland many of the establishments that in England would be called pubs have traditionally been known as bars, but these new bars in England are different. They appear in a variety of guises including bar & bistro, café bar, wine bar and just plain bar. At the same time many pubs have been given new names such as Bar 150, Bar Me and Sobar. These types of establishment cause major problems when trying to count the number of 'pubs'. Most tend to have large, plain windows facing the street, so that potential customers can see what is going on inside (an attraction to female customers). A few serve real ale but most do not. Most of them do though serve keg beers such as John Smith's, along with the higher strength lagers and sometimes keg Belgian beers.

While these changes have been happening in the urban areas another new phenomenon has been springing up in both rural and more built up areas - the gastro pub. As we mentioned above, many country pubs have relied on their food trade to stay open. Some of these gastro pubs have taken things to new extremes, so that the customers who just wish to have a drink are made to feel unwelcome. In some cases one gets the impression that the owners really wanted to open a restaurant but it was easier in planning terms to take over an existing pub rather than apply to open a completely new outlet.

So when CAMRA branches come to complete the next survey of pub openings and closures they will have to decide if that new cafe bar should be included as a addition, if a new gastro pub that actively discourages those who just want to drink should be treated as a loss and if a closed pub that is the subject of a planning appeal is likely to open again.

 

ALE & BACK (VIA THE LOCAL BUS) Hop Press index

Ash Mather

Despite the seemingly fragmented and uncoordinated state of our country bus routes, it is still possible to visit many of our excellent out-of-city inns and to get home again afterwards. Some recent service changes of note are shown below.

Hedge End area:

Solent Blue Line's revised service 6 and new 'Bluestar' 3 together serve Southampton, Hedge End and Botley until late from Monday to Saturday, and until about 1900 on a Sunday. Buses stop near Greene King's Barleycorn (Hedge End) and Brewery Bar (Botley).

First operates the truncated 26 Hedge End to Fareham service. This irregular Monday to Saturday daytime route serves Gale's Horse and Jockey at Curbridge.

In the New Forest:

Wilts & Dorset's X34 and X35 provide all journeys between Southampton, Ringwood and Bournemouth. Alight at Bank Turn for the Good Beer Guide listed Oak, a free house serving excellent food and a variety of well-kept ales (coincidentally, this pub is the centre point of the New Forest walk, described elsewhere in this edition of Hop Press). Also, other pubs that are next to stops of this express , limited stop service are: the Inn on the Furlong, Ringwood (Ringwood's only tied house in their home town); the Burley Inn, Burley (Wadworth) and the New Forest Hotel, Ashurst (Fuller).

Late journeys on the services 56/56A (Lymington - Southampton via Lyndhurst) have been withdrawn, and the Sunday service is still very sparse.

An interposing rant...

Hordes come to Fritham to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and partake of fine ale at the national treasure that is the Royal Oak (Good Beer Guide listed year after year); yet very few come by bus despite there being a direct Southampton service to and from the pub door. The only useful departure from Fritham on Wilts & Dorset's service 31 (Southampton - Fritham) is at about 1500. A later bus to Fritham arrives at 1837 but then runs empty, out of service, back to Lyndhurst. Wilts & Dorset and Solent Blue Line are under common ownership: would more use the 31 if operations were transferred to the latter and this returning garage journey were run in service to Totton or Southampton?

Out of Romsey:

An additional Monday to Saturday journey to Braishfield on Wilts & Dorset 35 leaves Romsey at 1830 (1856 Saturday).

A fairly new type of bus service has been introduced in the Romsey area: Monday to Saturday. The 'Cango' services operate at fixed departure times from the terminus out to a 'roam area' and then back to Romsey, in response to telephoned bookings (0845 602 4135). At present the services, 'roam areas' and departure times are:

C51 (Braishfield): 1000, 1215
C52 (Braishfield, Dunbridge, Dean): 1740
C53 (Dunbridge, Dean): 1245
C54 (King's Somborne, Stockbridge): 1030, 1425, 1625

(Notes: Services do not run on Sundays or bank holidays, Explorer tickets may be used and travel beyond Houghton (4) is not available to the able-bodied).

The timings could be more helpful to the pub visitor but a number of inns are within reach. Braishfield (C51/C52) has three. The outrageously unspoiled Newport Inn (closes 1430) should not be missed for its beautifully-kept Gale's Ales and its justly praised variations on a theme of bread, ham and cheese. The witty and handsome Wheatsheaf serves Taylor's Landlord, Caledonian Deuchar's, Ringwood Best, Old Hooky, Badger Best and excellent food all day. And the Dog & Crook (closes 1500 Friday and Saturday,1430 Monday to Thursday), at the south end of the village, serves Directors', 6X, Ringwood Best and food. Return on foot is an easy couple of miles by road or by field and canal bank a modest adventure, especially in the dark!

The C52 can be booked for travel from Braishfield to Dunbridge, giving access to the the Mill Arms (closed until 1800 Monday to Friday), a free house opposite the railway station, it serves food and up to three Ringwood and three guest ales. Return by train, with services through to Romsey and Southampton at 1924 (1923 Saturday) and 2326.

The C54 timings allow for a round trip visit to the Good Beer Guide listed John o' Gaunt at Horsebridge (1100 to 1500 weekdays, all day Saturdays) for the, unusual to Hampshire, Palmer's IPA plus Ringwood beers and often another guest ale. There is an extensive menu.

 

SOUTHWICK REVIVAL? Hop Press index

Southwick, just north of Portsmouth, will always be known as the village where DDay was planned. Eisenhower and his allied commanders were stationed in Southwick House for the critical weeks before the invasion. The giant wall map of the first day is preserved as part of a museum at the house.

In their few moments off the generals could get a refreshing beer in the village inn, the Golden Lion. In common with many pubs in the 1940s, the Golden Lion brewed its own ales but unlike most it continued to do so well into more modern times - the final mash was not made until 1957. Moreover, the brewer then, 81 year old Dick Olding, just hung up the keys and left the Victorian brewhouse absolutely complete.

Many attempts have been made in the half century since to produce another brew; the former head brewer at Gales, Ted Argyle (the designer of the recipe for HSB), tried for years to get permission but never succeeded. Now there is a slender hope again.

Martin Bazeley, owner of Southwyk Ales, whose beers such as Skew are contract brewed at Gosport by Oakleaf, is set to use the old brewhouse as a beer and cider shop. With this use comes the slender hope that brewing might also one day be re-established - perhaps with Ike's Ale?

 

PUB NEWS Hop Press index

Rob Whatley

We are delighted to start this edition of Pub News with the reopening of the Bugle in Hamble under managers Laurent Cescatti and Mel Watson. It was good to see that an early advert declared "The drinks selection includes well kept real ales..." The Bugle scheme was jointly overseen by the Breamore Group, of which one of the founding directors was Tim Lincoln. The same name appeared again recently as the boss of Romsey Developments, the company that owns the White Horse Hotel in Romsey. Plans have been submitted to upgrade the hotel and build 15 apartments in the hotel car park in order to part fund the work.

Reductions in the size of car parks naturally brings us to the other Bugle in Twyford. Winchester planners have now accepted plans by the Inntown Pub Company to build four houses on the car park while the pub is retained with just a dozen parking places remaining.

Inntown have also resurrected their plans to build on part of the car park of another former Eldridge Pope pub, the Carpenters Arms at Bransgore. Last year's application, which was refused by New Forest planners, was to build one block of four and one block of five terraced houses. The new application, which was submitted at the end of August, is for one block of six houses and a flat. Local residents are campaigning against the changes, claiming that they do not vary greatly from the previous application. A spokesman for Inntown, managing director Martin Bailey, claimed that there was no reduction in the number of parking spaces available and that the development would improve the future prospects of the pub. He said, "By using the piece of land we are actually securing the long term viability of the pub because what remains is worth less as a development site in the future." An ingenious twist.

The potential implications of a reduction in car parking spaces can be witnessed in the outcome of plans put forward for the Elephant and Castle in Sholing. Again the developer, Highwood Construction, wanted to build housing on part of the site of the pub, which would have meant a reduction in the size of the car park. At one point it looked like Gales would take over the running of the pub, but that fell through and no other brewer came forward to run the pub. Thus it has now been demolished and a larger housing development will be placed on the site. A spokesman for the developers, Nigel Meek, said "The saddest part of this design solution is the loss of the pub. It's not something I would have wanted from the outset." Another pub that may suffer the same fate is probably best known to most as the Waterside in Hythe, although recently it has been the Arena.

Two large pubs have avoided the disappearing car park syndrome. The Hut in Chandler's Ford and the Balmoral at Nursling, both of which are part of the Beefeater chain, have been refurbished. Strangely, according to the adverts that followed their reopening, they both appear to have been visited by the same customer, who had exactly the same experience at each establishment and thus wrote the same words for both features. And from the pictures in the ads, the same customers appear to visit both pubs. Spooky.

Moving back to Southampton, time has been called on two more city centre pubs. The Queens Hotel in Albert Road South, which was owned by the city council, has been sold to developers and the Mayflower, in Castle Way, is now boarded up and looks set to be demolished as part of a major development in the area. It is not all closures as two new venues have opened nearby, though unfortunately neither of them offer drinkers real ale. In July, the 25th of the Pitcher and Piano chain opened in Ocean Village, and August saw the opening of Banana Wharf nearby. The latter is owned by Dalmeny Leisure which also owns the nearby Dock Gate 4 and the Wine Bar in Bedford Place. Not a new bar but a new name has appeared in Above Bar. The Toad @ the Park, which opened three years ago, has been renamed Que Pasa by owners Eldridge Pope.

Moving to the Forest, the Fleur de Lys at Pilley has reopened after a major refurbishment. Nearby, the Hobler at Battramsley has also reopened after refurbishment. The license application for extended opening hours for the pub was submitted by a company called 'Grand Leisure trading as Alcatraz.' It brings a whole new meaning to the concept of a 'lock in.' In Pennington, the Wheel Inn is under new management and is offering an constantly changing selection of real ales. A little further to the north, the Filly Inn at Setley is also under new management.

Continuing north, an application to demolish and rebuild a skittle alley at the Sir Walter Tyrrell, Canterton was rejected by New Forest planners. Last year permission was granted to make major alterations to the pub, including a function room, ten guest bedrooms and extensions to the dining, kitchen and toilet areas. Similar, but smaller, alterations have been given permission to go ahead at the Shoe Inn, Plaitford. When complete, there will be additional guest bedrooms and a bigger bar. Also looking to expand is the Hampshire Bowman at Dundridge. An application has been granted to build a kitchen and cellar extension and convert an outbuilding into a bar and toilets.

North of Winchester there is a new tenant at the Rack and Manger on the Stockbridge Road at Crawley crossroads. Terry Johnson took over the pub at the end of September. 'The Rack' is one of a very few Greene King pubs that still has the excellent XX mild, try it now as its future is in doubt now that the Ridleys Brewery (where it was contract brewed) is about to close.

Finally we recognise two long service achievements. Barman Trevor Thomas has retired after 15 years of working at the Pilgrim Inn, Marchwood. In all, he has been pulling pints for nearly 50 years. Before moving to the Pilgrim he had previously worked at the Croft in Hythe and the Mount (now the King Rufus) in Chandler's Ford. We wish him well in his retirement. Celebrating a quarter of a millennium of service to the drinkers of Winchester is the Wykeham Arms. A big party was held on 24 September to celebrate. When originally opened it was called the Fleur de Lys but following the Battle of Trafalgar the French associations of the name meant that it was re-christened after the founder of Winchester College. So it is also celebrating 200 years of its current name. Here's to the next 250 years.

 

MANIFESTO: Hop Press index

1. A guest beer right. Over one in three of the UK's pubs are owned by two huge pub companies. These two companies rent or lease their pubs to individual tenants or lessees who pay rent. In almost all cases they are also restricted to buying beer only from the company who owns the pub, often at inflated prices. This dramatically reduces consumer choice. CAMRA wants these tenants and lessees to be given freedom to stock one 'guest beer,' which can be purchased and delivered from a brewer of their choice.

2. Responsible drinking. CAMRA supports initiatives that encourage a more responsible approach to drinking.

3. Pubs for all. Multi-roomed pubs have much to offer in terms of traditional pub atmosphere and their loss reduces choice for us all. Such pubs attract a wide range of customers compared to large large citycentre drinking warehouses and are less likely to contribute to disorder.

4. An honest pint. When ordering a pint of beer you should be entitled to receive just that, a pint of beer. The reality is that because of loopholes in the law you don't always receive a full pint and consumers lose over £1 million a day as a result of short beer measures. Legislation is needed to protect consumers from short measures.

5. Planning guidance. Community public houses are a valuable public amenity but are under threat from developers and the growing trend for large city-centre drinking warehouses. CAMRA wants to see national planning guidance in place to require all Local Authorities to introduce policies to retain community public houses.

6. Planning permission. At the moment the law means that a pub can be converted into a shop or restaurant without the need for planning permission. The law must be changed so that any change of use which results in the loss of a pub requires planning permission.

7. Excise duty. The gap between excise duty in the UK and the rest of Europe continues to grow. This is having a damaging effect on Britain's brewers and pubs, and encourages people to drink at home rather than at the pub. CAMRA is calling for excise duty to be reduced to stem the flood of cheap alcohol crossing the English Channel.

8. Competition. CAMRA is concerned that continued consolidation of ownership will reduce choice, quality and value for money. CAMRA will continue to oppose all takeovers and mergers that are against the interests of beer drinkers and pub goers.

9. Fair deal for public houses. Imposing additional charges on well run urban community pubs to pay for basic services, such as policing, would unfairly threaten the future of smaller urban public houses. Well run urban community pubs should therefore be exempt from additional charges for basic services.

10. Ingredients listing. CAMRA would like brewers to provide more information to consumers about the ingredients in their beers. This is important for those with allergies and will help promote the image of beer as a natural wholesome product.

 

ADVERTISING IN HOP PRESS Hop Press index

It is the advertising within Hop Press that enables us to print and distribute it free to some 250-300 local pubs and clubs in the Southern Hampshire area.

The print run is 3000 and these are entirely distributed to establishments in the licensed trade. Taking your message to an extremely well targeted audience of pub users.

Edition frequency is two to three per year although we would like to make this strictly quarterly if we could overcome the Editor's lethargy and the contributors' indolence.

Rates are:

Full page: £80 Half page: £50
Rear cover: outside £100, inside £80
Front cover: inside £90
[There is a £10 (£5 half page) early payment discount.]

Sizes (H x W maxima) are:

182mm x 126mm and 90mm x 126mm

In most cases we can generate artwork to suit requirements although a 'cameraready' electronic file is always preferable. From experience, faxes never produce worthwhile artworks, colour photographs can be difficult and half-tone pictures will usually cause 'aliasing' problems . When preparing artwork it is essential to use a high definition - 300dpi or better

E-mail: hop-press@shantscamra.org.uk or call 023 8064 2246 for more details.

 

THEY CAN'T BE SERIOUS! Hop Press index

We thought that the unhappy demise of Screaming Lord Such had seen the end of the Monster Raving Looney Party but now it does not look so certain. Just as this edition was being prepared to take to the printers, the Government released its thoughts on alcohol and transport and it is now clear that the MLRP lives on under the banner of the Labour Party!

You could not make it up. Just four weeks from the biggest licensing rationalising and liberalising Act for a hundred years they announce a plan more repressive than the Country has ever seen before, and for what purpose? We assume the idea is to prevent drunkenness on trains and buses (what about boats...?), a laudable aim, indeed every measure should be taken to prevent it everywhere, but, the present problem arises from drinking before boarding the bus or train, not on it.

Southern Hampshire having a good population of metropolitan commuters, how are they going to take to not having the relaxing gin and tonic on the journey home? Not, we think, a vote winner.

Although not, perhaps, a concern to CAMRA, since trains have not served real ale since the end of the 1950s [note of nostalgia here from the writer, who can remember with affection pints of real Watneys (!) in the White Horse 'tavern car' on the Merchant Navy hauled Royal Wessex], we do like to think we are governed by sane people.

 


Hop Press Issue number 59. November 2005

Editor: Pat O'Neill
1 Surbiton Road
Eastleigh
Hants.
SO50 4HY
023 8064 2246
hop-press@shantscamra.org.uk

© CAMRA Ltd. 2005

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