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New life for Forest of Dean pub?

By The Citizen  |  Posted: July 19, 2011

music bid: The Angel at Ruardean.

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AMBITIOUS plans to turn a village eyesore in to a source of community pride look set to be welcomed with open arms.

The Angel Inn, in Ruardean, has lain empty for around three years but if music teacher Jayl De Lara's vision succeeds, it could become a centre of musical excellence.

Mr De Lara, from Dursley, runs the Harmony School in Cam, and he has applied for planning permission to start a similar venture at the Angel Inn.

Ruardean Parish Council clerk Donna Smith said that although the council had not yet seen Mr De Lara's planning application, it was aware of his proposal.

"It was discussed at the last parish council meeting and people seemed quite happy that something was being done with the building," she said.

"It has been empty for quite a while, and we have had some information from the applicant about his plans, which was very helpful.

"It looks like they want to be part of the local community and want to be involved in the village."

She said Mr De Lara's application to Forest of Dean District Council, for planning permission to change the use of the building from a pub to a music school, will be looked at during the parish council's next meeting.

Mr De Lara, a former punk musician and opera-trained singer started the Harmony School in Gloucester in 1997.

In his application, he said pupils will work on the building as part of their educational experience.

"We are looking to bring our Harmony School to the Forest of Dean as a long-term project," he wrote. "We can see the Angel at Ruardean as the perfect scenario.

"We see vast potential with being centred in the Forest, as it takes in many small towns and village and we have already taught many students from the area.

"The Harmony School has many links with many organisations and individuals throughout the county and beyond, and we now envisage integrating with the local Ruardean and wider Forest community.

"We are happy to take on a more rundown property like the Angel, as many of our students wish to get involved in redecorating, nurturing and beautifying the place."

The Angel Inn's closure came as a double blow for the village, as it happened at around the same time as the end of the Ruardean Freezer Centre, which closed due to a lack of trade in 2008.

The other pub in the village, The Malt Shovel, continues to trade well, and manager Susan Ellis said a new lease of life for the Angel Inn would be good for the whole village.

"It's been closed for three years and it would be nice to see it in use again as it has got in to a bit of a state of disrepair," she said.

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