Regulars at a West Yorkshire pub are celebrating after their share offer smashed its target, four days before the deadline. Over 250 customers and supporters invested £131,320 to save the Fox and Goose in Heptonstall Road, Hebden Bridge.
About half of the investors are from Hebden Bridge, with others from across Yorkshire and as far afield as London, Nottingham and Stratford. The share offer closed on August 8th.
Councillor Dave Young, Chair of the Fox Friends Steering Group said: “The response has been beyond our wildest dreams. We’d like to thank everyone who’s worked so hard to make this happen; our loyal supporters, the local community, the local media and co-operative organisations, who’ve all played an important part.
“We’ve now got just a little bit more hard work to do over the next couple of months, to complete the formalities and secure the pub on behalf of the community,” he said.
The co-operative registered the pub as an asset of community value under the Localism Act after its landlady became ill. It means the community had first option to buy it.
The money raised will buy the building and cover essential refurbishments. “We’ll be pressing ahead with the purchase as soon as possible,” said Gerry Crookes, communications officer for the Fox and Goose. “People love this pub. We want to preserve its character and make sure it doesn’t shut down for any length of time. It’s where people go.”
Manager Trevor Cobb has been elected interim manager and the rest of the staff will also remain in place. The co-op will preserve the pub’s character while encouraging community groups to use it. Members will have the chance to get involved and shape its future as West Yorkshire’s first co-operative pub.
“We’re buying the building but not the business,” said Gerry. “The business is us. We’ve always been a community pub. Now we’re making it official.”
• To find out more, visit: www.foxandgoose.org