Residents of the Lancashire village of Belthorn have launched a share offer in a bid to bring their local pub into community ownership. Community benefit society the Dog Inn Belthorn Ltd aims to raise £170,000 to buy the Dog Inn from a developer.
Its community share offer opened on 14 April, and will remain open until 14 May. So far it has received almost £35,000 in investments.
The pub was valued at £150,000 before Ribble Valley Luxury Homes bought it for an undisclosed sum shortly before it was due to go to auction on February 26.
The two parties are in discussions and Stanley Ainsworth, director of Ribble Valley Luxury Homes, has met with residents. The pub, which is owned by Enterprise Inns, closed when landlord Nick Parker left in November.
The Dog Inn Belthorn Ltd wants to buy the pub and adjoining land at ‘reasonable market value’. It aims to create a village hub ‘which will catalyse Beltorn’s economy and sense of community’.
Plans include bringing a shop back to the village, providing a base for community activities, bringing in new trade through business network events and developing allotments on the land behind the pub.
Kathryn Sharpe, secretary of The Dog Inn Belthorn, said: “The Dog Inn has been a thriving pub in the past, and we believe it can be again. The aim is to open the Dog Inn as soon as possible on taking possession, only carrying out essential refurbishment and redecoration of the bar area and staff living accommodation and the creation of a shop counter prior to opening.
“We believe we’ve put together a strong business case to show how a community owned pub in Belthorn can be a success, by reflecting what the people of Belthorn want from their pub. We, the people of Belthorn, will have a pub in the village for as long as we want one, because we will own it.”
There are now 34 community pubs in the UK. The latest pubs to join the ranks include The Case is Altered in Suffolk, the Tally Ho in Devon and the Shuckburgh Arms and the Fox and Hounds, both in Northamptonshire.