Pub petition gains momentum

The Romsey Pub has been closed for four years. (Marco De Luca)

By Oliver Lees

The Romsey community has rallied behind a renewed push to bring life back to the town’s only pub.

Since going online last month, an petition calling on the boarded up pub to reopen has garnered more than 4000 signatures.

Petition organiser Sandra Chestnut said the community was calling out for a local watering hole.

“When it actually closed, the community was very upset. The people want a pub, it’s a very major issue around town,” Ms Chestnut said.

Ms Chestnut said as well as being unusable, the building was an unfortunate eyesore for residents and visitors on Main Street in town.

Residents have also used the petition to note their support for the return

“Romsey pub closed two months before I turned 18… Every young man deserves a pub in his town,” one user wrote. “Make a decision. Reopen or sell. We need a pub in Romsey!” said another.

The petition was posted on the fourth anniversary of the pub’s closure. The pub had welcomed patrons for the better part of 150 years before its owner, Jim Hogan, decided to close the establishment due to financial considerations.

Mr Hogan, who also owns Hogan’s Hotel in Wallan, bought Romsey Hotel in 2007.

The following year he unsuccessfully fought residents and Macedon Ranges council to introduce 30 poker machines at the pub.

He subsequently lost an appeal at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Ms Chestnut said she believes the pub should be reopened without pokie machines, or sold to an individual or group in the community willing to take over the task.

Earlier this month Ms Chestnut had shared concerns with Macedon Ranges council relating to the condition of the building, given that it is protected by a heritage overlay.

However council’s heritage planner Dannielle Orr said there was little avenue for council to direct the property owner.

“The best option may be to continue to try and work with the owner to reach a compromise, if it’s possible, for the sale of the property,” Ms Orr said.

Mr Hogan was contacted for comment.