Selkirk’s derelict but cherished Queen’s Head pub is up for sale, with an asking price in the region of £125,000.
The advert is the latest chapter in a long-running saga of a watering hole dear to Souters’ hearts.
In July, a public meeting discussed a community buyout.
Spearhead by John Hawkins, he hoped to find public support for the venture and establish a Selkirk Queen’s Head Trust. A further meeting is yet to be announced.
“A proposal has been put forward to acquire this property, which is standing empty and becoming derelict,” he told us.
The meeting’s spur, he added, was the pub going up for auction, and a local “view to converting it into a training venture for local school leavers and other young people”.
But The Wee Paper’s investigations revealed the auction website was out of date.
Punch Taverns sold the property in June 2011. Edinburgh’s Shapes Property Auctions opened bids in September 2012 with a price of £125,000, but it failed to sell. Future Property Auctions then listed it for auction with a dropped price of £107,500 in October 2012, but, again, it didn’t sell.
Confusion over who owns The Queen’s Head is ongoing.
Vowing to continue with his venture, Mr Hawkins said: “Anybody can found a public trust with a view to buying a property. Until I have definite information on whether it’s up for sale or not, I’ll proceed with caution.”
Council officer for heritage and design, Mark Douglas, said: “We’re keen to see it brought back into use, for whatever purpose. If we’re going to give out public money, we need to be quite sure who the owner is, and that they have given their consent.”
Ahead of the meeting Mr John Poletti called us to contact the people who want to buy the pub.
We asked him directly, does he own The Queen’s Head? He replied: “I didn’t say that.”
But when asked the reverse: “So, you don’t own the property?,” he replied: “I didn’t say I denied I’m the owner.” He clarified: “I don’t personally own it, the company owns it.”
However, he refused to name the company, offering instead to act as a go-between to negotiate a price.
We traced the property to a Rosyth-based company, Dolcas Ltd, owned by a sole director and shareholder, Louise Mair in Leith, represented by Mr Poletti.
Mysteriously, an unidentified Facebook group ‘Queen’s Head Selkirk’ earlier claimed to be “rival buyer” to Selkirk’s proposed community buyout, and promised to reveal their identity “by the week’s end”, with doors open “by end of July 2013”. However, there was no-show, and the pub remains delapidated.