Herefordshire village buys Ei pub for £275,000

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Successful bid: a group of 200 Herefordshire villagers have bought an Ei pub
Successful bid: a group of 200 Herefordshire villagers have bought an Ei pub

Related tags: Ei Group

A Herefordshire group has succeeded in a campaign to save its only village pub, after 200 people bought shares to bring it into community ownership.

The Bell Inn in Yarpole, north Herefordshire, was set to be auctioned off by the Ei Group, causing fears the small community could lose its only pub for miles​ after it closed in May.

Ei Group put the pub on the market in February, alongside several other pubs in small villages.

With just two days to spare before the auction, the Mortimer Community Benefit Society bought the pub for £275,000. Contracts were exchanged on 28 August 2018 and the purchase completed on 13 September.

Community effort

The group said the outcome was the work of a small but highly motivated and generous community.

Sales in shares exceeded more than £224,000, after a one-month community fundraising campaign. The minimum holding was £250 but some investors gave up to £10,000.

Hopes for the pub’s new chapter include making it a food-led operation and a space used as a social hub and venue for events, meetings and live music.

Mortimer Community Benefit Society said work will now be taken to improve the condition of the site, facilities and garden to make it more attractive and cost-effective to operate.

Publican search

It will be run as a freehold with no beer tie, and the new owners said they intend to charge a fair rent to allow the development of the business.

Rebecca Stanners, the community engagement officer for the group, told The Morning Advertiser​ in August an ideal tenant would help the pub provide “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.”

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

  • 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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