Don't blame villagers

PUBLISHED: 13:28 15 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:51 28 May 2010

I AM writing in response to the article Restaurant: We faced a losing battle published in last week s edition. It is a shame the Overstone in Coldham has closed and being converted to residential use, because Coldham is losing its last amenity, apart fr

I AM writing in response to the article 'Restaurant: We faced a losing battle' published in last week's edition.

It is a shame the Overstone in Coldham has closed and being converted to residential use, because Coldham is losing its last amenity, apart from the village playing field.

To be fair the Overstone Arms, as it was originally known was lost to the village more than 22 years ago when the current owners took over, converted it into a restaurant and the villagers lost their only social meeting place. No more pub.

Although the pub may have appeared run down and neglected it was well used.

The food served a the Overstone was very high quality and priced as such, so perhaps more suited to special occasions than everyday eating out. Perhaps if the establishment had remained a public house, serving good food, more people would have regularly frequented it.

There are numerous village pubs that thrive through reputation and recommendation as satisfied customers tell their friends. People will travel, and not rely on public transport, from the market towns to village pubs for meals when they know they will be welcomed and served good, affordable food. People from Coldham have to.

In the article, the closure of the restaurant is compared with the closure of other 'enterprises'; the village school, shop and church, through lack of support.

This may be true of the shop, as it could not compete with the supermarkets.

The church was attended by those who wanted to when a service was held, but there is only one vicar for Elm parish with what were three churches, Elm, Friday Bridge and Coldham to cover.

The school was closed around 1977 and the children now go to Friday Bridge. I think this is like comparing apples with pears. People will travel to a good pub; not so for a village shop, school or church.

Coldham is a small hamlet and may not have a tourist attraction to attract drop-in custom, but community spirit goes a long way. There used to be a pub darts team comprising Coldham residents. There is a football team that has been running for 25 years that has not had a local to offer hospitality to away teams. There is currently a village group, well supported by the village, working hard to provide the amenities Coldham is lacking.

I doubt the Overstone (Arms) will ever reopen as it must be worth much more as a residential property, but the closure should not be blamed on the lack of support from Coldham village as the article implies.

People cannot eat out seven days a week, but would probably have supported a public house.

MR D BRAND

Overstone Road

Coldham

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