Herne turns out to be an unsuspected hive of activity. It transpires that the local vicar thought it would be a neat idea to re-establish the centuries old symbiosis between Booze and Pews by nabbing the defunct Red Lion as a vicarage.
A vicar has revealed she asked her church to purchase a rundown pub and turn it into a new vicarage. The Rev Elaine Richardson tried to persuade the Diocese of Canterbury to buy the empty Upper Red Lion in Herne.
The vicar, who preaches at St Martin’s Church next door, says it would have been the perfect spot for a vicarage with rooms for public use. But the Diocese considered the move “uneconomical and unsuitable” – paving the way for Tesco to start talks with brewery Punch Taverns.
The Rev Richardson said:
“It would have been ideal. It’s right next door and is perfect for access and parking. It was looked at, but wasn’t thought to be suitable. I would have loved to have bought it, but it needs a lot of work doing to it. The diocese didn’t like the idea of having a Vicarage where half of the rooms were for public use. I may have put up with it, but I think the diocese didn’t think they would find another vicar who would. Obviously, expense was an issue as well. The brewery put it up for sale of offers of more than £250,000, but I think they want a lot more than that. By the time you’ve bought this, done that, done this, it’s not feasible.”
Tesco is understood to be negotiating a move to buy the pub and turn it into an Express store, but a sale has yet to be confirmed.
The Tescopoly Alliance was launched in June 2005 to highlight and challenge the negative impacts of Tesco’s behaviour along its supply chains both in the UK and internationally, on small businesses, on communities and the environment. The campaign also advocates national and international legislation needed to curb the market power of all the major British supermarkets.