“Save our Butt” plea from Mere drinkers

“Save our Butt” plea from Mere drinkers

Published by Mike Draper at 5:54am 4th February 2020.

4 minute read

The community's coming together in the fight to save their beloved local pub.

In October 2019, the local community were disheartened to discover that the “Butt of Sherry”, a pub which has stood on Castle Street for over 200 years, was going to be sold and potentially turned into flats.

They have gained an Asset of Community Value order from Wiltshire Council, which gives the locals time to plan a takeover.

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The Butt has been a popular part of Mere's community for more than 2 centuries now

A HISTORY OF THE BUTT

A building rich with history, the “Butt” has been a popular tavern ever since it was opened in the late 19th century, becoming a meeting point for local residents of Mere and a welcome point for visitors of the town.

In 1894 the property was purchased by local business woman Constance Hartgill, the owner of the Bell and Crown in Zeals, a business that still is in full operation.

Constance elected to name the pub the “Butt of Sherry” in tribute to its original function, as the building served as a wine bar in prior years.

Supplying the ale from her brewery in Zeals, Constance soon found the pub becoming popular among locals, a trend which has continued to the present day.

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Local drinkers are hoping to do their bit to save the Butt of Sherry for future generations

MERE'S BIG ISSUE

As Mere’s population increases, and demand for living spaces becomes greater, more and more traditional, local businesses are either re-locating or have made the decision to cease trading.

A Street which has boasted some of Mere’s favourite businesses over the years, Castle Street has seen many shops and traders come and go, with “the Butt” being the last remaining trader on the road.

The “Old Ship” and the Lloyds bank have been transformed into flats, a transition which is thoroughly opposed by the local residents.

WHAT IS BEING DONE TO SAVE THE PUB?

After locals discovered the news of the Butt’s imminent sale, they decided to set up a Facebook page and amassed over 300 followers in just two days.

With the backing of the community, the locals contacted Wiltshire Council and applied for an "Asset of Community Value order", an application which was successful.

The ultimate goal of those involved is to keep the pub alive, while making it an official community owned pub for the residents of Mere.

An application to the Plunkett Foundation followed, an organisation dedicated to supporting rural communities by championing community ownership, and the efforts of those involved even continued over Christmas.

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What could the future hold for the Butt of Sherry in Mere?

Over 200 questionnaires were collected during this period to see exactly what the community thought of the pub and its potential development.

The results overwhelmingly concluded that people strongly supported the pub staying open and becoming a community hub, and now the pub is planning to host community events.

A public meeting was held, in which local residents packed into the Grove building. The committee informed the attendees that a community benefit society was going to be formed to raise funds and buy the property.

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