Monday, 21 August 2017

Villagers raise £90,000 for pub purchase

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a historic pub in Cuxham are confident it will re-open despite achieving less than half their fund-raising target.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a historic pub in Cuxham are confident it will re-open despite achieving less than half their fund-raising target.

The Half Moon closed in September after 200 years as Brakspear said it was no longer viable. The pub is valued at £350,000.

Villagers are trying to raise £200,000 towards the purchase price and so far have collected £90,000.

Ruth Hayman, who is leading the campaign, said: “During the past few months we’ve been investigating several options to secure the future of the Half Moon.



“The support from our small community here, and the wider neighbourhood, has been amazing with local residents pledging almost £90,000 to save the pub.

“We haven't yet raised enough money to make an offer but we’re encouraged to hear that there are a number of other interested parties and we’d certainly welcome the opportunity to engage with them.

“What the community wants more than anything is for the Half Moon to re-open. We know that in the right hands, as a free house, the pub can thrive.”

The Half Moon has been registered as an asset of community value, meaning Brakspear must give villagers six months to come up with an offer to buy it before it goes on the open market, although it doesn’t have to accept a bid. This period ends next week.

Mrs Hayman said: “Even though we’re nearing the end of the moratorium, it doesn’t signal the end of our campaign. As long as the pub remains unsold, we will continue to work on other funding options and we remain extremely optimistic.”

Campaigners believe that community ownership of the Half Moon would give it the best chance of long-term survival and offered locals the opportunity to buy shares in the pub. The balance of the purchase price would be covered by a loan and possibly some grant funding.

So far, the campaign has found financial backers as far as Australia after villager Joan Barker lobbied her extended family in Perth and Sydney and they responded with pledges to buy shares at £200 each.

Brakspear says that before the closure it provided former landlady Jude Bishop with marketing and design support and charged her “virtually nothing” in rent but the pub’s trade flattened out.

The Half Moon had been run for almost a year by Mrs Bishop, who was also landlady from 1998 to 2001 before moving to the Fox and Hounds in Christmas Common and then the Rising Sun at Witheridge Hill. She has since returned to the Fox and Hounds, which is also owned by Brakspear.



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