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The pillar and the coffee machine. 17 Aug 2015 11:09 #1

  • Ash
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Hello all,
Just expressing my view of the proposed reduction in size of the pillar and the proposed removal of the coffee machine. I appreciate that both items must be difficult for the staff to negotiate around but I feel very strongly that neither item should be removed or changed. These little features somehow add more than the sum of their parts to the character that is the bell.
If any you you have been to Totnes you will know that walking up the Main Street means a significant negotiation of the traffic, yet to pedestrianise the road in a strange way would strip away the character of Totnes.
In my life as a nurse I often had very little space to work at the patients bedside but sometimes we have to work in difficult areas for the benefit of the whole.
As a customer at the bar I find the coffee machine part of the feature that gives the bar character, even if you have to dodge to either side of it.
Again like many others, I became a share holder to keep the Bell as it is.
Thanks all, Heather.
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The pillar and the coffee machine. 20 Aug 2015 22:00 #2

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I totally agree, Ash, but I am not sure you will get any other reaction from anyone here. The Bell was saved from being a gastro pub or a sports bar, but now it is in danger of being turned into a music venue which happens to sell beer.

I know the place has to make money, but I hate the idea of more of the original 1700 fabric being nibbled away to get a clear view of a band, two nights a week. Aside from anything else, that cherished 'snug' will have gone forever if that happens, and the place will take one step further away from being a simple pub.
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The pillar and the coffee machine. 25 Aug 2015 08:03 #3

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I agree too.
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The pillar and the coffee machine. 15 Sep 2015 11:24 #4

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It doesn't look as though this issue is going to be debated on this forum, but it deserves a proper response from the Board. Here 'tis.

The Coffee Machine. There are no plans to remove the coffee machine. I seem to recall that the suggestion was made from the floor at the AGM, but it remained a suggestion.

The Pillar. The Board has not yet made any decision about replacing the pillar. Some Board members believe that there is a case for replacing it with a less obstructive support, and we are getting costings for the work to aid the Board's discussions, but at this stage no decisions have been taken.

The happy combination of music and beer is a huge part of what makes The Bell The Bell, but we're never going to get universal agreement on every detail of that combination. Your Board does its best to take everyone's views into consideration and to make the right decisions for the future of our pub. Please carry on using this forum to let us know how we're doing.
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The pillar and the coffee machine. 29 Sep 2015 22:49 #5

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Speaking as someone frequently constrained to try and watch a band from the vicinity of the bar billiards table, i'd love it if that pillar went or shrunk. It's really not an asset to the room.
As far as the feel of the table behind it, one of my favourite places to sit but usually occupied, I think that, as the ceiling level will still change, as there will effectively still be an arch, that back section will still feel seperate from the main body of the pub. So no harm done. I'll also be able to see who is in there without having to walk into the back to see round the pillar.
I'm all for sorting it.
I'm a member of the Board and a Founder Member of the CoOp. I'm also an admin of this site!
I have worked for the pub in a freelance capacity, and at the Hat & Feather too, since the early 1990s.
I also work freelance for Bath Fringe and for some other festivals. I'm a musician and a writer.
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The pillar and the coffee machine. 30 Sep 2015 21:32 #6

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If you are going to remove a couple of tons of the back wall of the 1700 original pub, then don't bother with replacing that section with a silly pillar. The technology exists - and has existed for some time - to span the whole gap with a series of beams to support the rubble work above without the need for a tube from which you can pole-dance, should the inclination come over you.

Despite what you say about being inconvenienced for three days a week, three hours a day, the little space created by the Victorian addition to the original core will be destroyed by the removal of the bit of remaining wall, and without putting up screens during the bulk of the time when bands are not playing, it will never be replaced.

I really do not feel as strongly about this as I might appear to, but it needs some proper discussion amongst all parties before what I believe to be a pretty drastic demolition is allowed to take place. You can't just nibble away at the original interior just because music is your prime interest.

I really think that the Board should have the mandate to decide on this, but I also think that proper consideration should be made before it does, because this work is irreversible. I put forward objections as Devil's advocate in the hope that it is discussed. I have no particular axe to grind.
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