March 12 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Campaigners fighting to save their village pub are celebrating a “victory for the community” after striking a deal to run the popular venue.
The much-backed community group Bentley Community Pub Ltd were successful in their bid to purchase the freehold of The Case Is Altered in Bentley, it was yesterday confirmed.
David Westley, who set up the working group, last night expressed his delight and said he hoped his long battle would serve to offer encouragement to similar community groups aiming to save and takeover their favourite watering holes.
He also spoke of his relief and said an “air of excitement” was spreading through the village.
Owners Punch Taverns had had the pub on the market for nearly a year.
The venue faced an uncertain future when it was vacated by its previous tenants in March last year. It prompted Punch Taverns to issue an asking price of £240,000.
The community group was quickly formed and successfully had the venue listed as an asset of community value.
On July 16 last year, the group announced a moratorium had been arranged, meaning Punch Taverns was unable to sell it to anyone for a period of six months.
The community organisation soon opened up its share offer with the aim of raising £350,000.
But the group admitted in November that the appeal was in danger of failing after only managing to raise a total of £50,000. However a recent surge in fundraising provided campaigners with renewed optimism last month – with the agreement proving the protracted battle was “worth the fight”, Mr Westley said.
“It is a great victory for the community,” he said.
“We are absolutely delighted. There is an air of excitement in the village. I hope other community groups take some encouragement from what we have achieved. Our heartfelt thanks go to all our investors. We could not have done it without them.”
A Punch Taverns spokesman said: “We can confirm that a deal has been agreed with the community group and can confirm that it is in legals.”