Duo want to take over Wheatsheaf pub

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The Wheatsheaf pub has been closed since the start of 2020

The pub on Eastfield Road has now been closed for 21 months, having shut at the start of 2020.

It was curious timing, after an investment of more than £100,000 in refurbishment the previous September, and it has remained unused during the intervening 15 months. 

The pub, which dates back to the early 1900s, has been boarded up since then, and looks in a sorry state.

However Graham Wesley and Paul Dickinson see potential in the location, but have so far not received the answers they want from the premises owners.

The duo want coffee mornings, Sunday carveries and even perhaps a small book section/library, as somewhere welcoming to people of all ages, which is not as it appears now.

Indeed there were rumours the empty building was broken into at some point shortly after the first lockdown.

They have even offered to help re-open the pub on a no-contract basis, while they assess exactly what is needed.

As yet the duo, both members of Peterborough CAMRA, have not had the answers they want and communications have stopped, although owners Greene King say they have explained the situation. 

Dickinson said: "It would be about building a following, because people will follow pub landlords and owners; my grandfather worked in Tetley's in Leeds, and drinkers would follow the Tetley's pubs.

"I have friends in that area of Peterborough who have nowhere to go for a carvery. There is a real opportunity there."

Wesley has a substantial background in pubs, and his previous premises include the Postilion in Paston, the Railway Inn in Whittlesey, and the Lion in Ramsey St Marys.

Two of those pubs no longer exist, and the pub industry as a whole was in peril even before Covid pushed it to the brink. Many pubs across the UK have been taken over by developers with the aim of conversion into flats - but Graham said this is not always as simple as it seems.

He said: "It's quite easy to de-licence a pub, but a lot more difficult to grant change of use. The council is very 'community community community' and doesn't like to close a pub. 

"There are pubs in Peterborough that were taken over with the intention of turning them into flats, and have just remained boarded up for years. In the end they've had to let them out, because they couldn't afford to leave it as they're still paying non-domestic rates.

"With the Wheatsheaf it's empty and starting to look rough. It's shame it's sitting there, doing nothing, when we could do something with it."

A Greene King spokesman said: “Unfortunately it has not yet been possible to reopen The Wheatsheaf. 

"There are no current plans to sell the pub but it is not currently available to let while we consider what is best for the future of the pub and its local community.”