Royal Oak feedback

Since the inception of HOTV in 2018 it was clear that it was a community project, and that everyone in Stoke St Gregory should have a say in shaping it. Now that the Royal Oak is in community ownership, we want to ensure that what we do with it has wide support, so we need you to tell us what you would like to see.

You can do this in several ways: by emailing, by coming to open days at the Oak and talking to us, or by talking to any member of the management committee or to the shop managers.

This page has been designed as a place to pool all the views, suggestions and comments that come in. In August we asked What sort of Royal Oak would you like? and invited people to list their three favourite pubs. There was a slight fear that we would receive such a disparate selection that we might end up trying to cater for too many different tastes, but it turns out that there is a broad agreement about the sort of pub we would all like the Oak to become: friendly, inclusive, not too formal, smart or fancy, with good value food and drink, preferably an open fire and cosy sofas. There is also broad agreement about how it should look: much more how it used to look, with more brick and less fake leaded windows. We’ll take our cue from all of you, but fortunately this is completely in tune with what the committee had in mind.

Please keep the ideas coming in and we’ll add them to this page.​ (Scroll down to the bottom of each section to see the next.)

September 2020 Open Day feedback

Suggestions from the community during Royal Oak Open Day (5 September 2020)
[Big thanks to Susan Crabbe for collating this]

61 written suggestions in total with a wide variety of views. Some commonality as described below.
Zero waste/own containers/refillables (5 of 12 comments)
Wood burner/ open fire with comfy chairs (5 of 25 comments)
Whole business
Improve exterior appearance/comfort of building 9 of 22 comments

1. Refillables a must.
2. As it is now, but with more space.
3. Trays of eggs and customers use own boxes.
4. Refillable goods.
5. Excellent service, good displays.
6. Don’t skimp on chilled goods. Great sales. Take away hot drinks?
7. Bring own container – great idea!
8. Zero waste – bag your own. To be green –essential.
9. Local gifts made in area. Reflect our village and community.
10. Nice cards and wrapping paper to grab presents.
11. Offers. I want to be tempted by cookery ideas. Seasonal suggestions.
12. Lottery terminal.

Coffee shop
1. Make sure coffee shop is visible from main shop so that people are tempted to stop and have some cake.
2. Sunday morning café.

1. Welcoming atmosphere, dog friendly, comfortable, good food(not too expensive), rustic chic, real ale, drinkable wine by the glass.
2. Stools at bar.
3. Real fire, comfy chairs.
4. Reduce wall partition in skittle alley. Increase seated area in alley.
5. Weekly quiz.
6. Good local grown food from around here.
7. Take down wall in skittle alley to make space flexible. E.g. Two alleys or one alley and drinking area or space for events/ eating functions.
8. Real cider please. Area with no music.
9. Nice beer.
10. Do not take the wall down between the two skittle alleys. Two womens teams play every Wednesday on left alley in Sedgemoor Ladies League. One team here every Wednesday. It is very noisy when men’s team plays on right alley at same time. There are also Farmers team that use the right hand alley for casual games. (Treasurer, Ladies Sedgemoor League).
11. Comfy area by fire (sofa etc). Non-matching tables in pub.
12. Outside bar.
13. Take-away option.
14. Good homemade cider from around here.
15. Boules pitch. Somerset Boules League.
16. Dog friendly please. And boots. Here here!
17. Keep the skittle teams.
18. Reasonably priced meal (affordable). Not too fancy.
19. Log burner. No carpet.
20. Traditional pub games.
21. Log fire and settee.
22. Woodburner.
23. Non-smoking beer garden.
24. Smoking area for those who occasionally indulge.
25. Avoid “urbane” décor. Country Inn should be like Eli’s, Huish Episcopi.

Whole business
1. Caravans quickly – brings in early income.
2. Please change awful windows. It would make a real difference. (Agree!!)
3. How about a local craft area? Jewellery, willow baskets, ceramics etc.
4. Our own cider press.
5. Solar panel grants? (Long south-facing roof). Reduce energy costs and increase income. Also insulation grants.
6. Awning over courtyard to extend season for outdoor coffee/drinks in autumn rain.
7. Wooden pergola over side terrace to make it more attractive from the outside.
8. Local photos and pictures – old and new. Pale walls – bright and clean.
9. Packed lunches for e.g fishermen, walkers, cyclists, classic car, the Road Runs.
10. Keep the nice features, get rid of the awful ones (Windows)
11. Structural survey so you know what can be knocked about easily and what not.
12. Yew tree – if you don’t want it, we do! Liz Bennet and John Hembrow.
13. Bike racks.
14. Keep the camper vans coming.

Three Favourite Pubs league table

Here are all the details of the three best pubs. A couple of late entries have meant a slight change to the leaderboard. The Halfway House at Pitney now has 6 votes, the King Alfred and the Bird in Hand have 5 each. Four pubs have two votes – the George at Middlezoy, Eli’s at Huish Episcopi, the Farmers Arms at West Hatch and the Hatch Inn at Hatch Beachamp.

I have done some basic analysis of the reasons people gave for a pub being their favourite. Surprisingly, good beer/cider was not top of the list. Results are below;

Good food – 16

Welcoming – 11

Dog friendly – 10

Good beer/cider – 8

Friendly atmosphere – 8

Muddy boot friendly – 7

Log burner/fire – 7

Sports coverage – 4

Cosy – 3

Family friendly – 3 (Although balanced by two people who like pubs because children were not catered for)