Village pub enters community ownership after £300,000 campaign

Locals rallied round to save the Kings Head, the last surviving pub in Pebmarsh, Essex

When the last surviving pub was put up for sale by its owners, an Essex village rallied round to save it as a community-owned venture.

The Kings Head in Pebmarsh ceased trading in September 2016 when its owners retired, which came as a blow to the locals.

But within three months, the Friends of the Kings Head group received pledges of £300,000 to turn the site into a community-owned pub. Shares were available at £50 each.

The group completed the purchase in June this year, securing its long-term future as a critical community asset for Pebmarsh and the surrounding area.

The pub, which will also offer a cafe and a shop selling essential items, has had necessary repairs and re-opened last month.

A grand opening event with street food and live music was held on 11 November, with invites going out to all shareholders, the local community and former landlords from as far back as the 1960s.

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John Flack of Pebmarsh Community Pub Ltd said: “We have realised our dream of purchasing the Kings Head on behalf of the community, with nearly 400 shareholders who really care about saving this prized community asset.

“Our shareholders are mostly from our local communities, but we have also attracted investment from around the world, mainly from people who have fond memories of their time spent and friends made in Pebmarsh.

Nicole Hamilton, head of frontline at Plunkett Foundation, which supports rural community businesses, said: “We’re thrilled to see the community taking ownership of The King’s Head in Pebmarsh.

“This will enable them to put their full plans in place and provide an important social space giving the community a sense of place and identity. We wish them every success.”

Jenny Sansom from Power To Change said: “There is amazing community spirit on display here. By making sure pubs host groups and charitable events, people are keeping their local pub open and offering much more than a good pint.”

 

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