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Community bids to purchase Brown Edge pub

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: May 14, 2014

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A GROUP has been formed to save a village pub for the community.

The Holly Bush in Brown Edge and its car park has been offered for sale.

Last October the pub was one of the first to be registered under the new Localism Bill by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.

The Community Right to Bid part of the act allows communities to ask councils to register buildings and land that play an important part in community life.

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Once a building has been successfully registered, an owner deciding to sell the building must first inform the council and then hold off a sale for six weeks to allow the parish council or local community groups to decide if they would like to buy the property.

If the local community does want to bid to purchase the building then the owner is required to suspend the sale for a period of six months – which allows the community the opportunity to raise money to make a purchase.

As a result the 'Save the Bush Group' has been formed as a steering committee to gather information and support so that a bid can be made for the facility.

One of the people behind the community scheme, Pete Turner, said: "There are six of us on the group looking to buy the pub.

"We are all from the village and have significant expertise and experience on our committee of running businesses, operating bars and running community enterprises.

"We are convinced that the pub is viable if substantial changes are made to the offer the pub makes to our community.

"We have had the property valued and put in a bid for the market value, which is £185,000.

"There is work needed and a survey has told us the roof needs attention.

"Should we be successful this would all be completed.

"There has been tremendous up swell of support for the project by villagers. This support has meant that we will, subject to the vendor engaging with us, be issuing community shares to raise the funds.

"We already have received an offer to underwrite the share issue by 50 per cent."

Councillor for Endon and Brown Edge, Christina Jebb, said she supported the group in its efforts to purchase the pub.

She said: "The people behind the idea are a group of experienced people. Community shares could be bought into the scheme.

"The group would like to take over the ownership and management of the premises and they are confident they can make a huge success of the business.

"The pub has played a big part in village activities and is and an important part of the community. It would be very sad to see it lost.

"The project would provide job creation and make a home for community groups."

The group has also approached the Plunkett Foundation, which helps communities to save their pub as a co-operative venture and provides support from the initial stages of a pub being under threat to providing ongoing support to established pubs.

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