The Caroline of Brunswick pub on Ditchling Road will remain a venue from comedy and music, after its owner agreed to lease the pub to its current management for a further five years.
It had been feared that the owners would convert the venue into a chain pub and that The Caroline would lose its status as one of Brighton’s ‘alternative’ venues, after the current lease ends in November 2017.
But, after a campaign by staff and customers, the owners Punch Taverns have agreed a new five-year lease on the building with current leaseholder Cliff Barnes, lasting until 2022.
A Facebook campaign ‘Save the Caz’ was started by staff who were joined by over 1,300 members of the public.
The campaign was supported by MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas who wrote in November: “All too often much-loved community pubs are being sold off for redevelopment. The fact that the Caroline of Brunswick is also a live performance venue, a space which encourages and embraces new acts, just adds to the urgent need for it to be saved.”
Lucas also tabled Parliamentary Questions and an Early Day Motion to press ministers asking them to improve national planning rules around ‘change of use’ of pubs, something she hopes will prevent pubs like the Caroline of Brunswick from being sold off for profit and redevelopment.
Leaseholder Cliff Barnes said: “It’s a great relief that Punch Taverns have changed their mind about the future of the Caroline. They originally told me that I was going to lose the pub at the expiry of my current lease in November 2017, but following the massive support from our customers, the local press and media, and even Caroline Lucas MP, they have relented.
“Ms Lucas was particularly brilliant at making sure local concerns were heard all the way up Punch’s hierarchy, up to and including the CEO. Our mercifully short-lived “Save the Caz” campaign has proven that a little bit of rabble rousing can do a lot of good.”
Images: Tom Urdis