Lawsuit pub could be saved by parish council

The Samuel Pepys in Slipton has become derelict but villagers want to save it

By Sarah Ward

A parish council is attempting to try and save a derelict sixteenth century pub once owned by a publican at the centre of a £14m compensation battle with the new unitary authority.

The Samuel Pepys pub in Slipton closed its doors two years ago and has been standing empty ever since and going into a state of decline.

The once thriving establishment has recently come to public attention again as it is one of three formerly owned by wrongly jailed landlord Geoff Monks who lost his pubs and his health in the 2000s after being prosecuted by the former East Northants District Council (ENDC) for food safety offences.

Monks, who also owned the nearby Snooty Fox in Lowick and the Vane Arms in Sudborough was sent to HMP Woodhill for 57 days in 2003 after failing to keep up payment on the hefty fine handed out by local magistrates.

He had his conviction overturned in 2015 after a referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission and is now in the midst of a multi-million pound civil action against ENDC’s successor council North Northamptonshire Council as exclusively revealed by NN Journal yesterday.

After being sold by Monks in the early 2000s the Samuel Pepys remained a thriving food and drink establishment until recent years.

NN Journal spoke to residents of the small village near Thrapston yesterday who described the former venue as ‘bouncing’ and a great place to take friends and family when they visited.

But after a change of landlord they say it lost its way and after becoming a haunt for young drinkers the shutters came down.

Recent plans were put forward by current owners M and A Knightsbridge Properties to convert the pub to residential were refused by ENDC earlier this year and the pub was designated as an asset of community value by ENDC in January after a request by the Lowick and Slipton parish council.

The owners notified the unitary council of his intention to sell the historic ironstone building in June and now after the council opened up the venue to community bids Lowick and Slipton parish council registered as a contender.

The council, which is working with the informal Friends of the Pepys community group now has six months to raise the funds to buy the pub and restore it as a community venue once again. 

Minutes from a recent parish council meeting say the council will not contribute financially to the purchase but will support the friends group and consider securing a loan.

In the absence of a community hall the pub has in the past been used as a meeting room for important events and as a polling station.

If you enjoy your news fix from NN Journal you can make it a regular morning event by becoming a paid member. Our local journalism is completely paid for by our subscribers so we remain independent and don’t bother our readers with annoying pop up adverts.