STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE TRUSTEES OF WINTERBOURNE MEDIEVAL BARN
5 JULY 2023
Following significant renovation works, Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust (WMBT) became the Leaseholder of the Barn complex, which is owned by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC).
The continued preservation of the Barn is enabled by a commercial operation which hires out the venue for events, and licences other entities to operate from the Barn premises. In line with WMBT’s charitable aims, these are small artisan businesses, and as the brewing of beer and making of cider are traditional rural activities, 3 Engineers Brewery (3EB) fitted this broad remit, and on 1st July 2020 became a Licensee of Unit 1 of the Cow Byres, permitted to brew beer on site.
3EB requested permission to open a “taproom” within the Unit, and WMBT agreed the sale of beer brewed by 3EB and one local cider, in line with the traditions of the area, and also soft drinks and pre-packaged snacks. 3EB then unilaterally added the retail sale of wine to their offer, breaching the conditions of their Licence, and also without consulting WMBT as the Premises Alcohol Licence holder.
When this became apparent to WMBT, 3EB were asked to remove this offer, and when the breach of the Licence became persistent, a meeting was arranged for 24th November 2022 that re-stated the limitation of the Licence agreement. 3EB continue to challenge the terms of the Licence and
on June 3rd the Licence extension for 2023 was returned with a handwritten statement that rejected the terms of the Licence, so in fact 3EB had decided not to continue operating from the WMBT premises. WMBT offered an interim extension to enable the packing up of the operation, and to enable a new Licensee to be sourced, but the deadline for agreement passed with no meaningful response.
No Licence was agreed, the last “taproom” session was on Wednesday 28th June, and on Saturday 1st July the 3EB Licence came to an end, though equipment is still on site in the North Yard.
WMBT has successfully operated other Licence agreements and will continue to deliver the range of events that ensure the future preservation of the Barn, follow the Business Plan agreed with SGC and the National Lottery and provide a cultural asset to the local community.
We hope this has been useful background, and an alternative perspective to the views and comments you may have already heard or read.