Herefordshire villagers bid to buy 'only pub for miles'

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Community spirit: Herefordshire villagers will bid to buy 'only pub for miles' when Ei auctions it off later this month
Community spirit: Herefordshire villagers will bid to buy 'only pub for miles' when Ei auctions it off later this month

Related tags Pub Village Herefordshire Community

A community in Herefordshire has banded together in a bid to save their only village pub as it is put up for auction by the Ei Group.

The Bell Inn in Yarpole, north Herefordshire, will be auctioned off by the pubco in three weeks.

Former regulars of the pub, which has been closed since May, hope to purchase​ it by selling shares.

The Mortimer Community Benefit Society aims to raise £350,000, with people across the community donating amounts ranging from the minimum holding of £250 up to £10,000.

The pub would be used as a live music venue, for special events and as a local meeting place for all ages.

Village ownership

A survey of villagers revealed 80% support the proposed purchase of the Bell.

Ideally, the pub would be owned by the community​ but run by a professional publican who has experience in the business and can attract both locals and visitors to the pub.

It would be run as a freehold with no beer tie.

Rebecca Stanners, the community engagement officer for the group, said residents feared the pub would be lost forever and turned into houses if they did not intervene.

She said: “It means a lot because it is the only pub for miles. There just isn't one that you can walk to from where we live. It's quite a small rural community in north Herefordshire.

“The pub has had its ups and downs over the years but more recently it has become perhaps less and less popular and finally ground to a halt.

Centuries old

“It's been a pub for hundreds of years. It's a lovely black and white building with an attached barn, right in the heart of the village.

“As a community we decided we didn't just want to sit back and let it potentially disappear but that we would take action.”

Stanners said the community is currently looking for a tenant “who understands the needs of the community where we maybe want services for people who are older and socially isolated, and for younger people who have nowhere to meet at the moment, as well as building a thriving business.

"Because the community will be buying the pub, they will have a vested interest in using the pub, bringing friends and family to use it.

“There is a local market engaged, but also a recognition there is a need to bring in people from outside."

If the group can raise enough to buy the pub, it is hoped the doors can be open again by Christmas.

Yarpole has previously won awards for its community-led shop and café set up in the village church.

  • Interested in running a pub? You can find out more about pubs for sale, lease and tenancy on the MA​’s property site​.

Related topics Property law

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