Holbrook residents bid £450,000 to buy village pub

Holbrook residents are hoping to take  back control of village pub The Spotted Cow and run it as a social enterprise.
Holbrook residents are hoping to take back control of village pub The Spotted Cow and run it as a social enterprise.

Residents of Holbrook have submitted a £450,000 bid to buy the village’s disused pub and bring it back into use as a community enterprise.

After banding together to form the Spotted Cow Preservation Society in 2016, villagers have now formally put their offer to the site’s owner.

Society secretary Stephanie Limb, 34, said: “We’re hoping he will take it seriously, and that no one will come in against us.

“By our reckoning it’s a fair offer for the potential of the site, and a really good opportunity for the owner to still make a profit.”

The Spotted Cow, on Town Street, closed its doors in 2014 and was sold for £370,000 the following year to a prospective developer who wished to build eight houses on the site.

The residents’ group managed to block those plans by having the pub officially designated as an asset of community value (ACV), a status which carries legal protections.

With his plans obstructed, the owner of the site has decided to sell it, and as an ACV he is obliged to give the community first option for a period of six months, a period which will end on March 18.

Any other buyer would face similar restrictions, and would have to apply to the council to have the land redesignated, something Stephanie thinks is unlikely to be successful.

Under the community’s proposal, two homes could be built on part of the site, a possibility which attracted developer Chevin Homes to put up £250,000 for the project.

The remainder has come from a consortium of 185 community investors, crowdfunding, and Co-operative and Community Finance, put together in just three months.

If the owner agrees to the sale, the community has big plans for the site.

Stephanie said: “When we were doing our surveys about the pub, we found out the local postmistress is set to retire.

“We want to divide the property to set up a Post Office and café in one part, and a pub-restaurant in the other.”

To follow the campaign, and find out more, visit www.holbrookcommunitysociety.co.uk.