The pub is a very important part of our community whether you are a regular or otherwise. Estate agents would say that having a pub in the community will add value to the houses in that community.
Community pubs are a growing feature of the current world and have proven to be very successful enterprises in the face of the decline of many rural pubs, indeed many have been saved from residential development.
Recently a planning application by the current owner of the Orchard Inn was granted to extend the pub and to create 9 rooms for accommodation. Reading the comments raised on the Hambleton Planning Department website, there seemed to be a tone of dissatisfaction with the proposed plans from within our community.
Considering the recent planning decision, and the Parish Council registering the village pub as a community asset earlier this year (which gives the community 6 months to put together an offer for the pub if it is put on the market), the time seemed right to see whether there was an opportunity to buy the pub on behalf of the community.
We feel that a community run pub would give us the opportunity to develop the pub at the heart of our community extending the services beyond that of a pub. This would create huge opportunities for the community to have a real say in how the pub works, for example as a café or post office and indeed any future developments to the site.
There are a number of organisations which have been set up to help communities raise funds and support them in owning and running pubs whom we have spoken to. We have also visited a successful community pub not that far away in Richmond called the George and Dragon.We have learned that community owned pub isn't about us all getting behind the bar but is about the community owning the pub and leasing the pub to a professional landlord. Done in the right way the partnership works for all parties with the community owners getting a return on their capital and the village having a thriving pub as is evidenced at the George and Dragon.
We made what we believe was a generous offer for the pub based on current market valuations and advice received from various specialists in the pub market. The current owner decided that he would prefer to continue with his development plans.
While this is disappointing we would like to think the community would support the idea of a community owned pub and we remain open to discussion if the current owner decides that he would like to revisit our offer.
If anyone would like further information please contact Barney Smith, Paul Escreet. Debbie Lewis-Green or Will Mowatt.