A village pub near Lancaster could soon be run by the locals, for the locals as residents unite to try and buy the premises from its current owners.
The New Inn at Yealand Conyers closed in November 2014 after owners Robinsons Brewery said it was no longer a viable business.
It has remained shut since then, but determined residents set up a Community Benefit Society which aims to raise £250,000 from shareholders to buy and re-open the pub.
The New Inn was recently classified by Lancaster City Council as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV), meaning the group has until mid-March to try and strike a deal with the owner.
So far the group has raised pledges totalling £36,000.
Sandy Sanderson, chair of the Friends of the New Inn Community Benefit Society, said the village had lost its shop, Post Office and pub and the group was determined to make the project work.
He said: “Thirty-nine community pubs have been established across the country, and not one of them has closed.
“Our aim is to eventually run it at a commercial rate of interest at around three per cent.”
Mr Sanderson said that the main objective would be to get the pub open as soon as possible, hopefully within four weeks.
He said: “It could do with a lot of money spending on it, but we’ve worked out that we can get it open, redecorated, with new carpets and furnishings pretty quickly.
“In due course, if we can create enough money, we’ll take it through a full refurbishment.
“We want it to be known as a community hub and pub that serves excellent beer from local breweries, at fair prices, with good local food.”
The group would aim to offer up the tenancy and management of the pub to a landlord.
Mr Sanderson said: “We want the pub to prosper, and consequently we want the tenant to prosper too.”
There are also plans to offer function facilities, a daytime cafe selling coffee and cake, and a shop selling necessities such as dry kindling wood.
It could also become a place where parcels are dropped off and collected. To get involved or pledge, visit www.newinnyealand.com
The New Inn is a listed building and parts date back to the 1680s.
Before Robinsons took over in 1982, the pub was owned by Hartleys of Ulverston.
According to the Friends website, for many years a senior member of the Hartley clan, Colonel Bryan Robin Hartley, lived just across the road from the New Inn, at Old Hall.
He made regular “quality control” visits to the New Inn, consuming a half of XB just to ensure that the company’s reputation was safe in the hands of the local publican.