Villagers fight to save Lickfold pub abandoned by Chris Evans

Chris Evans

Villagers fight to save Lickfold pub abandoned by Chris Evans

First published in News
Last updated

A community is racing against time to save a historic pub, abandoned by DJ Chris Evans.

Villagers in Lickfold have just six weeks to raise £775,000 to buy the empty 15th century coaching inn near Petworth.

The Radio 2 DJ bought The Lickfold Inn in 2008 but closed it just two years later after struggling to make a profit. It has been boarded up since.

Lodsworth Parish Council chairman Caroline Neville described it as a “proper old English pub” with “plenty of character”.

She said: “It has beautiful stone flooring, wooden beams and fireplaces. They don't make buildings like this anymore and we can't afford to lose it.

“It was a community hub when it was open, it was always busy.

“I would always take visitors there, especially my friends from America. They were blown away by it.”

Mr Evans bought the pub for £1million and famously hosted his ex-wife Billie Piper's wedding reception when she married Laurence Fox.

But locals were turned off after he hired a top chef and transformed the community boozer into a pricey gastro pub.

Mrs Neville added: “People think the area is incredibly affluent which it is in the summer when the polo is here. However, it isn't like that all year round.

“The owners didn't understand local people and they stopped going. They just didn't want to pay that kind of money for food and drink.”

The Grade II listed building was put up for sale in 2010. But when offers didn't come in, it was left to decay.

A recent Heritage at Risk report by Chichester District Council found evidence of broken windows, damp caused by “failing watergoods” and damp walls following this winter's flooding.

Last year parishioners applied to have the building placed on the Community Right to Bid register, so Chris Evans was required to inform them when it was put on the market and then give six weeks for them to stump up the cash.

With it recently going back on sale for £775,000, Mrs Neville said: “We want to restore the pub to being a cornerstone of local life.

“We are looking for either someone to come in and buy it outright or for locals to get the money together between them.

“But we only have six weeks. After that we don't know what will happen to it.”

She added: “There's not much for people to do in the countryside so pubs like this are so important. It is a place we can all meet and socialise.

“The need for community pubs has been demonstrated recently by the floods.

“Instead of us all being stuck at home miserable without power in the cold we could have been in the pub.”

Speaking about its current owner, she said there had been “no communication” and none of their questions had been answered.

The Argus contacted a spokesman for Chris Evans but at the time of going to press he had not responded.

Anyone interested can find out more by contacting Lodsworth Parish Council on 01798 860788 or visiting www.lodsworth.org.uk.

Other Sussex pubs with a celebrity connection

Marco Pierre White's Chequers Inn at Maresfield, East Sussex

Lisa Marie Presley reportedly did a stint helping to serve chips at her local pub in Rotherfield, the King's Arms 

The father of pop star Sophie Ellis-Bexter, and former partner of Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis, Robin Bexter, runs the Moonrakers in Alfriston

Comments (13)

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3:23pm Mon 10 Feb 14

spa301 says...

Am I missing something here or has Chris Evans done something wrong?
Surely he's complied with his obligations and if they wish to go ahead and make an offer they're entitled to do so.
Am I missing something here or has Chris Evans done something wrong? Surely he's complied with his obligations and if they wish to go ahead and make an offer they're entitled to do so. spa301
  • Score: 14

3:44pm Mon 10 Feb 14

whatevernext2013 says...

same old story use it or lose it ,and in this case they lost it as they did not use it ,
same old story use it or lose it ,and in this case they lost it as they did not use it , whatevernext2013
  • Score: 9

4:05pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Fight_Back says...

Agreed - what has Chris Evans done wrong ? At worst he's made a bad business decision ( which he can afford ). If the locals don't like what he did then buy the pub - I'm sure they will make a success of it if they are right in their opinions.
Agreed - what has Chris Evans done wrong ? At worst he's made a bad business decision ( which he can afford ). If the locals don't like what he did then buy the pub - I'm sure they will make a success of it if they are right in their opinions. Fight_Back
  • Score: 9

5:59pm Mon 10 Feb 14

whoee! says...

Totally agree Chris Evans has done absolutely nothing wrong.Its just the normal small village mentality ie they don't like outsiders.Even when they are trying to make the sh1thole better lol
Totally agree Chris Evans has done absolutely nothing wrong.Its just the normal small village mentality ie they don't like outsiders.Even when they are trying to make the sh1thole better lol whoee!
  • Score: 3

6:12pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Goldenwight says...

spa301 wrote:
Am I missing something here or has Chris Evans done something wrong? Surely he's complied with his obligations and if they wish to go ahead and make an offer they're entitled to do so.
No, he has done everything right.

If you care to look on a web search engine, you will see that he has managed to have stories published in a number of local papers recently to revive his flagging career. It is a lot easier to take copy that is sent to you than it is to actually report news.
[quote][p][bold]spa301[/bold] wrote: Am I missing something here or has Chris Evans done something wrong? Surely he's complied with his obligations and if they wish to go ahead and make an offer they're entitled to do so.[/p][/quote]No, he has done everything right. If you care to look on a web search engine, you will see that he has managed to have stories published in a number of local papers recently to revive his flagging career. It is a lot easier to take copy that is sent to you than it is to actually report news. Goldenwight
  • Score: -6

6:22pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Fight_Back says...

Goldenwight wrote:
spa301 wrote:
Am I missing something here or has Chris Evans done something wrong? Surely he's complied with his obligations and if they wish to go ahead and make an offer they're entitled to do so.
No, he has done everything right.

If you care to look on a web search engine, you will see that he has managed to have stories published in a number of local papers recently to revive his flagging career. It is a lot easier to take copy that is sent to you than it is to actually report news.
What flagging career would that be ? I guess hosting the countries most popular radio show ( and most popular by a LONG way ) is a flagging career then ? You really should get out more !
[quote][p][bold]Goldenwight[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]spa301[/bold] wrote: Am I missing something here or has Chris Evans done something wrong? Surely he's complied with his obligations and if they wish to go ahead and make an offer they're entitled to do so.[/p][/quote]No, he has done everything right. If you care to look on a web search engine, you will see that he has managed to have stories published in a number of local papers recently to revive his flagging career. It is a lot easier to take copy that is sent to you than it is to actually report news.[/p][/quote]What flagging career would that be ? I guess hosting the countries most popular radio show ( and most popular by a LONG way ) is a flagging career then ? You really should get out more ! Fight_Back
  • Score: 7

6:43pm Mon 10 Feb 14

LeonBIank666 says...

Chris Evans is the best Radio 2 DJ EVER!!
Chris Evans is the best Radio 2 DJ EVER!! LeonBIank666
  • Score: -3

7:00pm Mon 10 Feb 14

stir up says...

He is not hosting a popular show it is simply rubbish and he has a captive audience at that time of the morning who are more interested in time checks than all the chat. The BBC thought they need the youth group but in reality have lost more than they gained you must remember it is the BBC who make statements about listener numbers and they are probably as reliable as any other interested parties results
He is not hosting a popular show it is simply rubbish and he has a captive audience at that time of the morning who are more interested in time checks than all the chat. The BBC thought they need the youth group but in reality have lost more than they gained you must remember it is the BBC who make statements about listener numbers and they are probably as reliable as any other interested parties results stir up
  • Score: -4

7:06pm Mon 10 Feb 14

JoeBlow says...

spa301 wrote:
Am I missing something here or has Chris Evans done something wrong?
Surely he's complied with his obligations and if they wish to go ahead and make an offer they're entitled to do so.
Am I missing something here or is he only accused of changing the pub from a going concern to something too posh for the local community to sustain? On the face of it, that criticism sounds fair.
[quote][p][bold]spa301[/bold] wrote: Am I missing something here or has Chris Evans done something wrong? Surely he's complied with his obligations and if they wish to go ahead and make an offer they're entitled to do so.[/p][/quote]Am I missing something here or is he only accused of changing the pub from a going concern to something too posh for the local community to sustain? On the face of it, that criticism sounds fair. JoeBlow
  • Score: 4

7:29pm Mon 10 Feb 14

KarenT says...

My goodness he's an ugly fecker. Bet Ms Piper (as well as many others) wouldn't have bothered if it weren't for his millions...
My goodness he's an ugly fecker. Bet Ms Piper (as well as many others) wouldn't have bothered if it weren't for his millions... KarenT
  • Score: -3

12:28am Tue 11 Feb 14

All 9 of me says...

if you think Radio 2 is good, then it's perhaps YOU who needs to get out more.
if you think Radio 2 is good, then it's perhaps YOU who needs to get out more. All 9 of me
  • Score: -1

12:32am Tue 11 Feb 14

All 9 of me says...

And by the way Argus, it's Bextor.
And by the way Argus, it's Bextor. All 9 of me
  • Score: -3

6:13pm Tue 11 Feb 14

whoee! says...

All 9 of me wrote:
And by the way Argus, it's Bextor.
Who gives a feck lol hahaha
[quote][p][bold]All 9 of me[/bold] wrote: And by the way Argus, it's Bextor.[/p][/quote]Who gives a feck lol hahaha whoee!
  • Score: 3

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