The Greys, Brighton, which has been trading as a public house since 1878, has been put up for sale by Ei Group after the UK’s largest pub company – operating around 5,000 properties under its banner – failed to find a permanent tenant for the pub.
Residents in the Hanover area of the city have formed a Friends of the Greys action group with the aim of purchasing the freehold and securing the survival of the pub, which has been declared an asset of community value by Brighton & Hove Council.
With the support of the Plunkett Foundation, a crowdfunding campaign to raise £300,000 went live on Saturday, 2 December, as locals packed the Greys for an evening of live music and poetry – headlined by punk poet Attila the Stockbroker - to mark the occasion.
If the bid is successful, the Greys will become one of Britain’s few community owned urban pubs and the second community pub to open in Brighton - the first being the Bevy in Bevendean. Campaigners have also expressed a desire to refurbish the pub should the fundraising go to plan.
In addition to backing from other Hanover area pub operators – including Indigo Pubs and Laine Pub Company - Brighton’s Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has given her support to the campaign to save the Greys.
"Local pubs play such an important role in our communities, and with so many at risk of closure and redevelopment, I fully support the crowdfunder to purchase The Greys and keep it open for community use.
“It's a pub that's full of character, with potential to be an amazing community resource in residents' hands.”
Performers at the Greys over the past 30 years have included Damien Rice, Phill Jupitus, Georgie Fame, Shirley Collins, Julie Felix, John Otway, John Cooper-Clarke, Kiki Dee, Lene Lovich and Martin Carthy. It’s still a regular stop-off point for touring acts with the intimate venue renowned for its knowledgeable audience.
More information can be found on Save the Greys’ Crowdfunder website where just under £20,000 has been raised from 23 investors thus far.