The Balcombe Community Pub (BCP) committee exchanged contracts with Enterprise Inns last weekl (10 January) and has extended its current share offer until Tuesday 31 January to reach its final target of £303,000.
Locals raised 90% of their target in five weeks after the share offer opened on 23 November 2016. A £100,000 loan was also donated from an anonymous donor.
BCP marketing officer Julie Rezac told The Morning Advertiser: “The Half Moon Inn really struggled over the years. It's a small pub.”
Rezac added: “A lot of the legwork was done without any funds at all. It was really just through the dedication of the founding members.
“It's been really a lot of work, but also a great and amazing community initiative.”
Heart of the community
The pub gained its asset of community value (ACV) status after it was put up for sale by Enterprise Inns in April 2016.
BCP secretary Rodney Saunders said: “Village support has been critical and our success is a testament to the strong community spirit in Balcombe.
“Over 300 villagers invested to keep our pub a pub. We are also grateful for the advice and support from The Plunkett Foundation.
“With their help, we didn't need to ‘reinvent the wheel’ and we are proud to be joining the growing ranks of community-owned pubs.”
‘Future for the pub’
The pub is currently being run by an Enterprise Inns tenant, although the committee is looking for a new operator to take over the site.
Enterprise Inns asset and development director Richard Broadribb said: “There was considerable interest in the Half Moon Inn and we are delighted that the local community has been successful in their bid to take over ownership.
“As a business we regularly review our pubs and, unfortunately, there are occasions where some of our pubs no longer fit the criteria to remain under our ownership.
“It’s pleasing to see the community have managed to take on The Half Moon Inn to secure its future as a pub.
“We wish them the best of luck for completion next week and have offered to support them over the coming months, should they need it.”
Fleurets divisional director Nick Earee said: “I am delighted to have been involved in the sale of this village pub to the community. It’s the only pub in the popular village of Balcombe.”
The sale is to be completed by next week (Monday 23 January).