It’s 07:25 on Tuesday 23rd March 2010, and Paul Stainton is talking to Brian Gascoyne, Chairman of the Millfield and New England Regeneration Partnership, about the news that Brian is reopening the Crown Pub Lincoln Road Peterborough as a Members Only club.
PS: Now the Crown Pub in New England is to reopen this week as a private members community club. For anybody who’s ever done the Crown to Town, going back many years, it’s not been possible in recent weeks. It’s had a chequered past of course. It was closed earlier this year following a number of altercations at the establishment. One man, though, believes he can change it all. He’s Brian Gascoyne. Good morning Brian.
BG: Good morning.
PS: The Crown to Town’s back on!
BG: Yes it certainly is.
PS: Why do you believe you can change the image and what goes on at this pub?
BG: By making it a private members’ club. It won’t cost anything initially to join, you just have to sign the application form which contains a code of conduct.
PS: Right. So is that it? There’s no other qualification to get into the private members club?
BG: That’s right.
PS: You’re Chair of the Millfield and New England Regeneration Partnership, and we’ve talked many times. Do you think this sort of thing is going to work though? Do you think people are going to get involved in this?
BG: Well they already have. I’ve had quite a tremendous response, certainly on FaceBook, and others where we’ve had chats and whatever. Everything seems to be OK.
PS: So you’ll be checking over people, will you? Or you won’t be checking them out? They’ll just sign something and that’s good enough? Or will you be …
BG: I think you’ve got to take people on their word. Obviously I’ve been a publican before, so I certainly recognise the signs of difficult customers.
PS: Yes. How are you going to enforce the club rules? What are the club rules?
BG: Basically that you respect everybody for what they are, and who they are. And not .. I’m talking about prejudice that’s racial or sexual or whatever, it doesn’t matter, male, female, it’s one conduct must fit all.
PS: Mm. Do we need to bring back the Crown? Is there a need for it?
BG: Oh yes, I think so. We’re losing too many pubs and places in the area that were centres of the community. Until such time as the economy sorts itself out, we’ll lose a few more. And I think it’s a shame.
PS: Quite a lot have closed, as you said. there’s a big recession on. How are you going to overcome that?
BG: Well, we have to take chances in our lives, and this is the chance that we’re going to have to take. It’s really looking to the future, and what’s going to be salvaged. There’s too much being closed down. I don’t want to see things knocked down.
PS: How many members can you fit in this place?
BG: At the moment the Crown will hold, if all three rooms are full, somewhere in the region of about two hundred.
PS: It’s quite a big place isn’t it. What happens if I were to join? I sign your contract. And I have a couple of shandies and start mouthing off.
BG: I think you’d be treated the same as if you’d been in any pub that I’ve run before.
PS: Aaaht. Get aaht.
BG: Just behave yourself, you know. I’m into talking rather than anything physical.
PS: Well listen, I promise not to do that Brian, I really do. We wish you all the best.
BG: Well .. this is recorded.
PS: (laughs). I will come though. I will come down and have a half with you. A swift half.
BG: Five o’clock Friday.
PS: Five o’clock Friday?
BG: Five o’clock Friday it opens. Yes.
PS: Yes. And do people have to come down beforehand to become a member, or can they ..
BG: No no. We’ll sign a .. obviously we want to make sure that people can get in and enjoy themselves and then sign up if they want. It’s basically open to all without any restrictions on Friday, and probably Saturday. And then we’ll start to do the rest from Sunday onwards.
PS: Have you done it up a bit? Is there anything to entice me? Have you got Space Invaders, have you got PacMan?
BG: I use a lot of magnolia.
PS: (laughs) Well that’ll do for me. A bit of magnolia and I’m in. Brian Gascoyne, who’s turned the Crown pub in New England into a private members community club. It’s a good idea I think. And you’ll have to sign a code of conduct when you go in. So you’ll go in there and drink, knowing that everybody wants to behave in the same way. It’s a good idea.