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Toppesfield: Villagers club together to buy pub

PUBLISHED: 20:11 19 December 2012

Villagers in Toppesfield have banded together to buy the local pub for the community

Villagers in Toppesfield have banded together to buy the local pub for the community

Archant

RESIDENTS of a north Essex village have treated themselves to an early Christmas present – the local pub.

The people of Toppesfield banded together to purchase the Green Man public house for the community after it had been on the market for several years and they feared they could lose it.

They formed an organisation – Toppesfield Community Pub (TPC) Ltd – and raised more than £150,000 through a share subscription to purchase the building from previous owners Admiral Taverns. Additional finance was secured through a mortgage and a substantial donation from a charity with local connections.

Chairman of the TCP committee, Alan Collard, described the acquisition as an “incredible achievement”. He said: “To secure the pub’s future when so many pubs around our way are closing down is a fantastic boost for the community. The support and encouragement has been overwhelming and people have voted with their wallets to preserve our local.”

Work to assess if the project was viable began in March, and after a series of meetings, more than 150 locals bought shares in TCP. This is the second successful community initiative undertaken by Toppesfield residents.

In 2002 they built their own village shop and post office, which is staffed on a voluntary basis. The group was advised by the Plunkett Foundation, a national organisation that supports rural community enterprises. Its chief executive, Peter Couchman, said: “An estimated four rural pubs close every week, but community ownership is a viable and successful solution to this problem.

“About 97% of community-owned shops that have opened in the past 25 years have stayed open.”

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