Ei Group pubs saved by local communities

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

People power: community groups in Church Fenton, Yorkshire, and Leasingham, Lincolnshire, have rallied to save their local pubs
People power: community groups in Church Fenton, Yorkshire, and Leasingham, Lincolnshire, have rallied to save their local pubs
Ei Group pubs in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire have been saved from closure after being bought by community groups.

Deals were struck for the White Horse, in Church Fenton, North Yorkshire, and the Duke of Wellington in Leasingham, Lincolnshire, after both faced uncertain futures. Both sites have been bought by local community groups and will remain as public houses for the foreseeable future.

Ei Publican Partnerships sold the White Horse after reaching an agreement with Church Fenton Community Hub, with the local group borrowing £355,000 from the Public Work Loans Board to buy the site, which dates back to 1881.

'Critical' support

Parish clerk Jeremy Sherlock commented: “Village support has been critical, and our success is testament to the strong community spirit in Church Fenton. We’re also grateful to the Public Work Loans Board for lending us the money we needed to buy the pub.

“Our next step as a community is to look at completing an internal and external refurbishment of the pub. These are very exciting times for everyone in the Church Fenton community.”

Ei Publican Partnership estate manager David Lea added: “We had a buyer at a similar price for alternative development, but felt the community group, having made significant efforts to raise the funding, should be given the chance to purchase the pub.

“It’s pleasing to see the villagers in Church Fenton take on the White Horse, thus securing its future as a pub. We wish them the best of luck.”

A 'real asset'

Leasingham Community Benefit Society reached a similar deal with Ei Publican Partnerships to buy the only pub in their village for £232,000.

The pub, designated an asset of community value, temporarily protecting it from change-of-use or demolition, will be reopened by the residents’ group.

Leasingham Community Benefit Society chairman David Warner commented: “The opportunity arose for the people here to safeguard the future of the Duke of Wellington, which has been, and will now continue to be, a real asset to the village.

“Initially I approached the Plunkett Foundation, which supports people in rural areas to set up and run community businesses, so I have to say a huge thank you to them for lending us a helping hand”.

Lea added: “As a business, Ei Publican Partnerships regularly reviews its estate, and unfortunately there are some outlets that no longer meet our ownership criteria, and so we offer them for sale. As in the case of the Duke of Wellington, wherever we can we endeavour to work with local communities that are keen to purchase our pubs and keep them trading.”

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