The current owner of the Masons Arms has abandoned his plans for re-opening it as a pub and has applied to change the use of the building to a house. Many local residents and pub regulars have expressed their opposition to the planning application by submitting comments on Monmouthshire County Council’s website.

Although the initial consultation period for this application expired on 17th March 2020 the Council has confirmed that the application will need to be considered at a meeting of its Planning Committee. A date has not yet been set for the meeting but any comments that are received before the Friday preceding the meeting can be considered by the councillors. So far 56 people have submitted comments to the council via the website and of these 55 are objecting to the plans.

You can add your own comment using the following link. It only takes a few minutes to complete.

 Here is a selection of comments that have been submitted so far.

“I am the last standing landlord of the Masons Arms Devauden, my name is Simon Phillips and even though my Dad passed away in January 2010, I continued to run the family pub until forced to close on 23rd of October 2011.The pub was always the thriving hub of the community supported by the majority of the villagers. I know how devastated the people of Devauden where when the pub closed (people still ask me if the pub is ever going to open). If I was ever given the opportunity to give the community back their pub I wouldn't hesitate.”
S. Phillips, Trellech

“The loss of the Masons Arms in Devauden would be a blow to a thriving rural village in much need of this community facility. As a resident of a nearby village with successful public houses I appreciate the importance of such establishments to the community and the social and mental wellbeing of its residents.
Notwithstanding this, the application does not comply with MCC policy CRF1 namely the Retention of Existing Community Facilities. The loss of such a facility shall only be permitted if the local community can be adequately served by an alternative accessed safely by means other than a private car.
This is not the case. The next closest pub is in the village of Llanishen, 3miles away on a busy B-road with no pavements. Equally, the Masons Arms has historically been a successful business much supported by its community. There is nothing to suggest this could not again be the case.”
S. Taylor, Tintern

“Whilst the village hall is a thriving community hub people in the village really miss having the pub since it closed. I am sure that if the pub were reopened it could be a successful business with the right management. New housing is about to added to the village. Lots of cyclists pass through the village, plenty of people from around Chepstow walk their dogs in Chepstow Woods near the pub. If this were changed to residential it seems like a great opportunity would be missed to provide Devauden with a community focal point different and complementary to the Village Hall.”
N. Potter, Devauden

“If there’s one thing that coronavirus has taught us it’s that communities are vitally important. The Masons Arms used to be the heart of the community for a lot of people living in Devauden and the village hasn’t been the same since; it’s one of the reasons that after 28 years I moved out of my lifelong home in Devauden and moved to Yorkshire. No attempts to run this as a public house have been made since the passing of the former landlord, Brian Phillips, and it really deserves to be given the chance to be run this way for the people of the village and the surrounding area. I have so many happy memories of enjoying other people’s company there as well as entertaining many a customer by playing guitar and singing. Devauden needs its pub back, please don’t let this happen.”
M. Modget, Thirsk

“Devauden deserves the opportunity to have a village pub. The Masons was a hugely important community asset and can be again.
The village is expanding on top of an already healthy population. As excellent as the Village Hall is, it is not a replacement for a pub. It caters for different needs.
The plans to extend and redevelop the site were over ambitious and took space away from the car park. A third party or the village itself should have the opportunity to purchase the property at the going rate for a public house which has been closed for nine years and not at the inflated price of a domestic dwelling.
There are many examples around the UK were village pubs have re-opened to serve not only the local community but also passing trade and tourism.
We run new holiday cottages near the village, and we have lost bookings because there is not a pub in walking distance. We should be encouraging people to walk to their local, rather than drive which is currently the only option open to residents.
Many successful pubs in Monmouthshire have small car parks: the Carpenters at Llanishen; the Fountain at Trellech Grange; the Carpenters in Shirenewton and further afield the fabulous Goose and Cuckoo which is in the middle of nowhere with hardly any parking yet is a vibrant community pub.
The trend of pubs closing has ended and for the first time in a while the number of pubs in the country is growing. They are part of the fabric of a community particularly in a rural area. Real ale and good food is a successful formula.
I strongly believe this application should be rejected and the council should make it clear the property should remain available, at a reasonable price, to be our village local.”
J. Brooks, Devauden

“My husband and I often used to walk in the woods around Devauden and would finish the walk with a visit to the pub. We looked forward to this visit as we always felt welcomed and we met many local people there. It would be a shame if Devauden was to lose its pub as we always felt it was the hub of this small village and it engendered a community feeling and was well supported by local people.”
L. Crofts, Almondsbury

“I am objecting to the application on behalf of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). There has been no attempt to market or sell the pub as a going concern. It was a viable business when it ceased trading in October 2011 following the death of the previous licensee and prolonged legal issues around probate that followed.. Note the closure date,because the application claims it was in 2009. The SW Free Press had an article in Feb 2011 regarding the pub raising £4 thousand on one evening at a charity auction, plus another £1,500 raised over the previous month for charity - hardly a sign of an unviable pub. The fact that there are half completed improvements that would have introduced en-suite accommodation and a kitchen to develop restaurant also illustrates this, The fact that the pub is within the Wye Valley AONB reflects scope for development. The applicant became sole owner in 2016 following prolonged probate issues. The son of the former joint-owner, who died in 2011 has already submitted an objection to this application saying that he would like to reopen the place and other objectors have reflected a local commitment to supporting the pub were it to reopen. The claim that it is economically unviable because of its rural location flies in the face of successful pubs like the Goose and Cuckoo in a truly remote spot in Upper Llanover, but still very successful and, of course, the Red Hart at Llanfapley refused permission to de-license by Monmouthshire many years ago and recently re-opened to general rejoicing from the local community. The Masons Arms pub has much local support and CAMRA therefore calls on the application to be rejected and will seek to submit a more detailed case shortly.”
M. Groucutt, CAMRA