Villagers raise £72,000 in two weeks to save last remaining pub

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Community spirit: Residents of Cefn Cribwr came together to save their last remaining pub (Image: Google Maps)
Community spirit: Residents of Cefn Cribwr came together to save their last remaining pub (Image: Google Maps)

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Residents of the Welsh village of Cefn Cribwr have ensured their last remaining pub will reopen after raising £72,000 to buy it. They hope to be serving their first pints in a matter of months.

The Three Horse Shoes closed five years ago, and was at the time one of two pubs remaining in the village. However, 12 months ago, the last pub in Cefn Cribwr, near Bridgend, south Wales, also closed its doors for good.

"At that time, we thought that was it, we don't have a pub and we didn't think we would be getting one back, potentially ever," said Geraint Mason, chairman of the Three Horse Shoes Community Pub group.

"But then, two and a half months ago, we noticed that a sign had gone up at the Three Horse Shoes saying it had gone back up for sale.

"The gentleman who bought it, and who had secured planning permission to convert it to houses, had decided he didn't want to progress with that, and it went back up for auction. 

"We were lucky enough, in a very short period of time, to be able to raise £72,000 to buy it. We bought it direct from the seller, and got the keys just over five weeks ago." 

Support from the community

In total 30 residents pledged money to help buy the 150-year-old pub, in varying amounts of £1,000 upwards.

Since getting the keys the group has been busy renovating, with the aim of reopening in six months time.

"We are getting a lot of support from the community - it's been fantastic," continued Mason. "People have been helping with the work, giving us their time and materials.

"For the first initial period we will be running it ourselves as a group, and doing anything we need to run it.

"We are lucky that we have stakeholders who have, and do still work, in the pub industry and we have got local residents who are ex-landlords who have volunteered to help us as well. As far as support goes we are not short, we are going to muddle along the best we can, but we have lots of people who are going to help us. 

"Going forward, financially it's just going to be a question of literally seeing how we go. We would all like to get our money back eventually, but everyone appreciates it's a long-term venture and we may not see anything coming back for five to 10 years, potentially. But, we are very confident that we can run with the business model we have got, especially with the fact that we were able to buy the property outright, so we are not paying anyone rent.

"We are hoping that will be a massive advantage over anyone who has run that pub in the past."

'No market' for old men's pub

Mason described the old Three Horse Shoes as a "traditional, old-fashioned, drinking men's pub", which is "obviously" not the market they are going for.

"I don't think there is much of a market for that type of pub in the area these days," he said.

"What we are looking to do is market it as a family friendly pub. We are certainly going to be putting a cafe spin on it. We want to be opening relatively early in the morning to catch the school-run parents on their way back, and we will definitely be doing at least basic cafe food initially, eventually making it a full kitchen service later on down the line. 

"It's never served food, it's been a drinking pub only, so again we are hoping that will be a big advantage to us."

Mason said residents around the area, not just in the village, are keen to see a community-focused pub open, due to the lack of anything of the sort in the vicinity.

"They want to be able to go in and have a coffee, or a beer. They want to be able to go sit down, read a book or have a game or darts, or bring the children. That's been a huge driver for it, and it's what has captured the imagination of all the local residents from the area. We are getting messages from far and wide at the moment. We are really hoping that it's very popular, and that the momentum keeps up."

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