Community group saves last pub in Great Holland

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Community spirit: villagers have joined forces to save the last pub in Great Holland
Community spirit: villagers have joined forces to save the last pub in Great Holland

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Local community group – The Manor Reborn – is set to be the new owner of the last remaining pub in Great Holland, in Essex.

The Manor pub was put on the market and had a planning application to convert it to residential property submitted.

However, a team of villagers, wanted to save its only watering hole. Co-founder Andrew Fairbrother said: “The pub was an important part of village life. The only other village pub closed about 20 years ago, and the village shop and post office also closed about 10 years ago. We felt it was important to try to save the last village amenity.”

The Manor in Great Holland, Essex, had been shut since the beginning of the pandemic and its owner had no plans to reopen it.

No plans to reopen

Fairbrother added: “When we found out there were no plans to reopen the pub, we were devastated and we felt we had to take action to try and stop the change-of-use plans and, potentially, buy it as a community pub.”

The group carried out an in-depth survey to find out what residents wanted before making the decision to raise the money in share capital to run the pub as a community enterprise.

The results were no surprise – 88% of village respondents felt The Manor was important or very important as a pub and village amenity.

With a limited amount of time to generate their capital, the group set about getting the community involved.

Fairbrother said: “Shares were £50 each, with a minimum investment of five shares. Involving the community was the pinnacle of what we set out to do as it will be run by a local committee alongside a team of volunteers. The media, both TV and radio, were a significant help in the process.”

Enough capital raised

Following a vote by shareholders, the pub will be reverting to its former name of The Ship Inn.

Fairbrother concluded: “After a challenging share offer, which was open for only eight weeks, the committee, assisted by The Plunkett Foundation and property agent Fleurets raised enough share capital to make an offer to purchase the pub.

“We feel very proud the villagers and the wider community realised the value of saving the pub and supported the share offer and we look forward to welcoming them all when the pub reopens.”

Commenting on the sale, Simon Jackaman for the East Anglia office of leisure property specialists Fleurets, which brokered the sale, said: “It was a real delight to have acted for the sellers of this beautiful north Essex pub. I am so pleased the community has come together to buy the local pub.

“This is something that has been seen over a number of years and demonstrates that local communities want their village pubs to stay open and thrive. I know that there are many exciting plans in the pipeline for this property and wish them well for the future”.

Related topics Property law

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