Villagers campaigning to save their village pub have struck a deal with its owner to buy it for £195,000.
The Thorold Arms in Marston closed in July 2015, leading it to be sold at auction where it was bought by a Paul Barmby, believed to be an Essex property developer.
However, after a year of negotation and two unsuccessful planning planning applications to change the pub into a home, the Save The Thorold Arms campaign has announced a breakthrough.
Treasurer Mike Allen said: “We will now have to update and re-issue our Business Plan and Share Prospectus and intend to launch our share offer as soon as possible. It is hoped we can complete a sale by the middle of the year and after some refurbishment, re-open the pub in time for Christmas.”
“We will be looking for individuals and businesses to invest in shares in the Thorold Arms Community Benefit Society Limited, with the aim of regenerating the heart of our villages with a Community Hub incorporating a shop and cafe. There is lots to do.”
Some £250,000-£300,000 will be needed overall to cover the pub purchase and its refurbishment. The Plunkett Foundation, which helps rural communities, is helping the group in surveying the empty premises.
Previously, the villagers had raised £120,000 within six weeks to buy the pub, with a loan of £60,000 from a ‘white knight’ but they lost out at auction to Mr Barmby.
But now, they plan to relaunch their share offer to recover the funds and also use crowdfunding and other business investment. Mike called the deal with Mr Barmby “great news.” To help, people can go to the Save
the Thorold Arms website.