Widow tells council: “Don’t take my parents’ old pub”

PUBLISHED: 14:33 17 May 2011

Teddy Handscombe (third from right) and her father Fred, far left standing outside pub in 1930s

Teddy Handscombe (third from right) and her father Fred, far left standing outside pub in 1930s

Archant

A 97-YEAR-OLD widow has said how she hopes a council do not call time on a troubled pub that her parents owned during the war.

Developers want South Cambridgeshire District Council to give permission to turn The Plough in Shepreth, Cambridgeshire into a house.

But Teddy Handscombe, whose parents, Fred and Ellen Lee, ran The Plough in the1930s and 1940s, has urged planners to remember the pub’s historical significance.

“It would be a crime if we lost The Plough given its history, and I don’t think there’s a reason for it,’’ said Mrs Handscombe, who still lives near the pub. “I would be terribly upset if it disappeared.”

She said she could still picture Spitfire and Hurricane pilots, including disabled hero Douglas Bader, from nearby RAF Duxford, drinking in the bar in 1940.

“I can still see those boys in there,” she said. They used to come from Duxford and from the bases at Fowlmere and Bassingbourn, which were also nearby.

“They had Wellington bombers at Bassingbourn. I remember they used to fly low over the pub. The Wellingtons would be so low that the tree across the road would bend.’’

More than 400 villagers, including Mrs Handscombe, who moved to Shepreth in the 1930s after her parents left the Duke of York pub in King’s Cross, London, have signed a petition calling for councillors to reject any house plan for The Plough.

The Plough was turned into a restaurant a few years ago and shut in January.

Campaigners have formed the Save The Plough Action Group and are say The Plough thrived when run as a traditional pub, and would again, but was the wrong site for a restaurant.

Last week, Surinder Soond, district councillor for Shepreth, discovered a document on the Land Registry website that stated a change of use was not allowed for the pub.

The 27-year-old document was signed by the pub’s owners at the time and the brewery.

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