Packhorse Inn, Saved By Community, Pours Its First Pint
The local community in the village of South Stoke, just a 30 minute trek from our cottages, has successfully raised £1m to buy back their local pub. The Packhorse Inn was closed six years ago and there were threats it would be turned into a housing project.
But 430 investors, locally and from across the world, invested £500,000 to buy back the pub with another half a million ploughed into renovations. They firmly said “no” to corporate greed and have won back the heart of their community.
According to the BBC, saving the Packhorse Inn is the largest community pub buy-back in the UK. They were able to do so thanks to the combined efforts of the Save the Packhorse campaign and the 2011 Localism Act, which allows communities to appeal to their local council to have a building listed as an “asset of community value”.
Dom Moorhouse, project lead of Save the Packhorse, said over 1,000 volunteer hours went into promoting the campaign and to help the pub undergo renovations. Renovations included turfing up the “jungle” pub garden into 25 skips and landscaping it into a community outdoor space.
To mark the reopening, the ribbon was cut by 87 year old Brian Perkins who was born above the bar when his parents were the landlords. He then went on to marry his wife, Edith, and held their wedding reception in the pub back in 1951.
The 400 year old building is now back to serving great beers and ciders – but most importantly the community have won back the village’s heart and soul.