Save a great pub
10:36am Thursday 19th July 2012 in Letters
I'm writing in support of the campaign to keep The Castle open. My wife and I have been regulars for over twelve years and an occasional drinker there since the early 1980s.
The Castle is that rare species, a traditional community pub. It hasn't been tarted up and given a strange name. The interior retains its Victorian character. It is what it has always been, a place that is at the heart of its neighbourhood, and the focus of a wider community of Barrians who share in its life.
More, with Graham and Brenda as landlords it has gone from strength to strength. Not only does it offer the best beer, for which it has a national reputation, but with its bands, its quizzes, its social activities, function room, skittles and pool it has grown in the way it serves and supports local people, whether their times are good or bad.
Not many pubs in Barry, if any, deserve the affection that The Castle has earned over the past ten years. In my own case, I would like to pick out the welcome that all in The Castle have given my autistic son, who has himself become one of the regulars. As a lad who is accustomed to discrimination because he can be difficult to understand, or odd in the way he talks directly to people, this is a pub where he has been welcomed by all, and can feel safe. He is devastated by the bad news. The Brewery need to be made aware that if they destroy The Castle, then at the same time, they destroy an essential element of support and neighbourliness within the local community. As a well-run, traditional pub, with no pretensions other than to be a social hub, The Castle is a key to the sustainability of that community, at a time when social stress makes many people's lives difficult.
Brains need to change their minds. If they proceed, they may make a bit more money, and inflate their balance sheet in the short term; but they will have earned the enduring disrespect of a very large constituency, not to mention a market for their beer.
Matthew Griffiths Elan Close Barry