New DelightPosted by Robert Collins, Thursday, July 18, 2002
I apologise for this rather long post, but feel that people are choosing to misinterpret my remarks and also to make assumptions about me personally which are unfair.
I initially posted a message to this debate because I did not agree with some of the accusations that were appearing on these pages. I do not believe I have made any comment to the effect that, "the pub must not be re-opened." In posting my most recent message I was hoping that others would suggest their own, positive, ideas for the pub's future. Sadly that has not been the case.
It is true that I do not live next door to the New Delight and that I wasn't in there every night. I do live within walking distance of the New Delight, the Top Shoulder and the Woodman, but having a young family means that my level of custom is limited to weekend lunchtimes. I also like to take advantage of as many different local establishments as I can. As it happens I was in the New Delight for a pint and a snack on the last Sunday before it closed.
I am obviously not party to any discussion between the existing owners and potential buyers. However we all know that there is much money to be made from the place by converting it to residential use. With this in mind, I do think the owner is right to be wary of some prospective buyers, especially if they showed no interest while the pub was open.
So, in response to the direct question in Cynthia Gault's message, I have no personal link to the owners of the New Delight. I have no financial interest in any plans for the future development of the New Delight. It appears that you have jumped to this conclusion for yourself, yet I am the one who gets accused of cynicism?
In response to Sally Crabtree's direct question, I am not sure and did not say I was sure that no-one would make a success of the New Delight as a pub. In fact I did put forward a positive idea for the future of the place, which was based on the successful redevelopment of other similar pubs all over the country, not unlike the Stubbing Wharf.
I also feel you overstate the previous success of the New Delight. The most profitable evening I ever saw was about five years ago when a band were booked to play there. The band obviously had their own following to add to the local crowd. Unfortunately the New Delight is in such a great spot that the band couldn't find it and turned up two hours late! Needless to say, much beer was consumed in those two hours and also during the after-hours performance they went on to play. Frankly nothing in my experience came close to that - the place often seemed rather quiet.
I also voiced my fears over what could happen if your campaign backfired. This was not some kind of sinister threat, merely my observation of large numbers of boarded-up pubs. The Woodman included.
It would be pointless for this discussion to deteriorate into a test of who has the best local credentials. I like to think that the fact that there is a New Delight campaign poster outside my house qualifies me to participate. With that in mind I hope that further discussions on this page can take on a less adversarial tone.