A project to save a village pub for the community is gathering pace.
The Duke of Wellington in Leasingham went up for sale last year and residents held a meeting in December when they found strong support for buying it to maintain the amenity for the village.
A group of residents, supported by The Plunkett Foundation, have formed the Leasingham Community Benefit Society Ltd (LCBS), a small dedicated team, to lead the purchase of the pub as a community asset. If purchased privately, they fear it could be converted into accommodation or an alternative commercial enterprise; but a community questionnaire was delivered to the whole village found overwhelming support to develop it into more than just a pub.
Frances Franklin said: “We had a fantastic 54 per cent response to the questionnaire with many positive comments. When we asked how important it was to create a community pub that catered for all residents of Leasingham, we were pleased to find 83 per cent felt it important or very important; additionally, 82 per cent wanted food in the pub with 78 per cent identifying Sunday lunch as a must.
“We now have a golden opportunity to do something great for the community, with the Duke of Wellington pub offering real ale, affordable locally sourced quality food on a regular basis, as well as incorporating a warm friendly café acting as a meeting point for friends and families.”
A business plan has been formed and they are ready to launch a share offer.
Three meetings have been arranged to try and accommodate as many people as possible on: Sunday March 11 at 3pm, Monday March 12 at 7.30pm, and Wednesday March 14 at 2.30pm, in Leasingham Village Hall, to update everyone on the progress, answer questions, and explain how to buy shares.
You can email the LCBS at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Facebook (friends of Duke of Wellington, Leasingham) or twitter.