Community’s informal offer to buy closed village pub is rejected

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AN offer made by residents to buy a rural pub in a bid to re-open it for the community has been rejected by its current owners.

The Bishop Blaize pub near Sibford Gower was purchased by Geoffrey and Jacqueline Noquet in February 2006, but the couple closed it a year later and lodged several applications with Cherwell District Council to transform it into a home. But a public inquiry in October ruled that living accommodation in the building must be secondary to its use as a pub – and last week The Bishop Blaize Support Group tabled an informal offer of £250,000 to the Noquets in the hope they might be persuaded to sell it.

However, Oswyn Murray, chairman of Sibford Gower Parish Council, said: “The offer was in line with the valuations made by Cherwell District Council, but I had a phone call from 
Mrs Noquet, who said they had 
no intention of selling and 
intended to remain at the pub 
and pursue various options available under the planning regulations.”