Dragons Head Disappointment

It is disappointing to learn that the Dragons Head is up for sale.

The notice of the sale of the property says –

“The premises comprise the former Dragons Head Public House which is in need of refurbishment, a detached barn and additional land with consent for the development of three terraced houses arranged over three floors.

The pub is in need of refurbishment. Plans have been obtained for its conversion and expansion. The barn has planning consent for conversion into a three bedroomed detached property arranged over three floors whilst the site has consent for the erection of three terraced houses. Plans are attached for the proposed works to each phase.

We seek £520,000, plus VAT on the pub element. Our clients will consider a disposal of each element in isolation as follows:-

Public House – £150,000 plus VAT
Barn for conversion – £100,000
Building plot for three terraced houses – £270,000″

I’m not sure how the current Planning Permission would be impacted by the sale of the site in this piecemeal manner, particularly as the permission was granted on the basis of specified preparatory work being carried out on the pub before anything started on the development of the site.

For once I am unable to find words to describe my dissapointment adequate,y.

You can view the complete sale prospectus at this link.

John Keegan

11 thoughts on “Dragons Head Disappointment”

  1. What? So does this mean that everything Mr Nutter was feeding the village was pure fiction ?

    On a positive note maybe someone with real passion and experience will purchase the site, fingers crossed.

  2. Ever the optimist, I like to believe that Simon acted in good faith.

    I am sure that the negative comments people made, especially on the first application and in particular the suggestions made by some people that he was not interested in the Pub aspect of the development, impacted disproportionately on the Planners.

    I recall one particular malodorous objection which verged on vitriolic. To this day I cannot understand the mentality of that person, particularly the downright lies contained in the submission,

    It has taken since February 2016 to reach this point. With the constraints contained in the final approval, I would not be totally surprised if Simon has lost faith in our community.

  3. The prospect of piecemeal redevelopment causes me concern but I am sure that our City Councillor will raise the question at Lancaster City level.

  4. The barn permission is for staff use connected to the pub. If that dies not happen than who would want to develop houses behind an eyesore. Not sure what happens with the rest of the land…. the building material for the new build cannot use the land for the pub or barn….. bit of a mess really.

  5. The inclusion of VAT on the sale of the pub suggests that it must be sold as a business. Whether or not that business is confined to being a pub, I’m not sure.

    I have been told that if someone buys the pub, paying VAT, they can apply for “Material Change of Use”. if granted, I am told, that they can then reclaim the VAT.

    Having had numerous run in’s with the Vatman I was under the impression that you had to be VAT registered to reclaim VAT. I am told that isn’t correct, in a case like this.

    John Keegan

  6. I suppose the idea of Whittington buying and running the George and Dragon has already be raised? If indeed it was, can anyone tell me why this was a non runner?

  7. In fact, there were two public meetings in 2014 on this very subject. A petition with over 100 signatures was sent to Lancaster City Council, in the following terms.

    “This petition of concerned citizens is to make Lancaster City Council aware of the urgent need for the status of the Dragons Head Inn, Main Street, Whittington to be resolved. It is our belief that maintaining the use of this amenity as a Public House is essential to the character and viability of our community. We strongly object to any attempts being made to obtain a material change of use to enable the establishment to be classed as a domestic dwelling.”

    At the time there were two people interested in buying the property, to maintain it as a public house. These were in addition to Simon Nutter, who eventually bought the property. One of these people has since left the village and I do not know if the other, who did not live in the village, retains any interest (I will try to find out).

    In fact, the Parish Council obtained a Community Asset Listing for the premises, which prevented any change of use. Listed Assets of Community Value stay on the local authority’s list for up to five years. However as the asset was sold, and the Community did not intervene and take advantage of the Listing I am afraid that boat has sailed.

    I am sure that you will have noticed that the recently advertised sale of the pub attracts VAT. That is, I assume, because of its status as commercial premises. I am told that reclaiming the VAT and changing the use to that of domestic premises, is not a difficult matter.

    I realise that this information does not answer your question. However, I hope it throws a little more light on it.

      1. In fact, Mike, you have started that ball rolling with your comments.

        The question now is how many people will pick up the challenge and run with it?

        I will draw the attention of our Parish Council to your observations, and in particular the Bamford Website, and in particular the “Community Pub Support Fund”

        I personally wait in eager anticipation.

  8. Hello Whittington Blog.

    I came here through a series of searches around the Dragon’s Head Following an email from Fleurets commercial property agents, mostly pubs, sent out this morning.

    I’m one of the admins for Protect Pubs – a private facebook forum of people concerned about the loss of pubs.

    The pub and its community have clearly been through years of pain… Is there any appetite among the community for buying the pub and reviving it? I understand the barriers to this happening which are very real – otherwise the pub would not be back on the market – it’s such a shame, it so obviously is FULL of great potential if capital were available to bring it back into proper use with input from the whole local community. It could be a marvellous asset.

    If anyone locally would be interested in joining Protect Pubs – I’ve put the url in the posting form and below…


    Would be interesting to know more about the background

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