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Congleton
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Community funding being poured into village pub

A community’s purchase of a pub has left one of those involved “full of confidence” about its “positive future”.

The Hollybush, in Brown Edge, has been subject to a potential takeover by residents who wanted to save it from being developed for housing.

Brown Edge parish councillor Peter Turner, secretary of the Buy the Bush Steering Group, explained that a not-for-profit community interest company (CIC) has been set up to “purchase and develop” the premises into a hub “for the village, by the village”.

He explained: “The concept is that people lend the money to the pub and those are the people that have the say on how the pub operates in the future.

“The parish council is not involved in the purchase of the Hollybush pub itself. We’re setting up a community company and that will be purchasing it.”

He said the steering group had visited seven or eight community pubs to see for themselves how they are run and it “filled them full of confidence.”

Coun Turner added: “It’s positive, we’re very positive about its future. We believe we’re going to raise the funds although we’re not clear how much we’ll need but we’ll know within the month.

“The pub is already open and there won’t be any change in the tenancy. All we’re doing is securing it so it’s not sold by anyone, because it was closed in the past and it had been up for purchase to be demolished.

“Thankfully the tenants stepped in and opened the pub up, which the community itself is very grateful for. Now, the worst thing that could happen is that the rent goes up and pushes them out of business.”

Residents can become members of the newly-formed Brown Edge Hollybush Community Interest Company by loaning money in blocks of £500 to the group. Members will be permitted to one vote per loan bond at company meetings.

Brown Edge Parish Council has already purchased the car park for £175,000 to spare it from the “high chance” of development.

Parish clerk Denise Wheat said: “We want to encourage the community to get involved, although we’re not involved in the next stage.

“The car park was part of the process because it would have been sold to developers for housing.

“The community wanted to retain the pub. We had a number of people from the community tell us that they didn’t want the area to be developed by housing developers, and there was a high chance of that happening.”

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