Bentley: Community calls for support as bid to buy village pub is launched

A community group in Bentley is looking to buy the Case is Altered pub in the village.

A community group in Bentley is looking to buy the Case is Altered pub in the village. - Credit: Archant

Villagers have joined forces in a bid to buy their pub and run it as a community enterprise.

The Case Is Altered in Bentley has been empty since March and has been put up for sale by owners Punch Taverns.

The inn has been given a £240,000 asking price but villagers are hoping to raise enough money to buy the pub as a community enterprise.

David Westley, who set up the working group to save the pub, said: “This is the second time that it has been closed. “If there is sufficient support from the community, we are intending to do a share offering where residents will be invited to apply to buy shares in the pub with whatever amount each person wants to put up.

“Each person will become a shareholder in the pub which is a similar model in other locations such as The Sorrel Horse in Shottisham.”

More than 25 people attended an initial meeting about the proposal and Mr Westley is hoping more people will come forward.

During the meeting, a working group was formed which is now investigating the mechanics of a community-led purchase.

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He added: “We are hoping support for this venture will grow.

“We are about to send out a questionnaire to every household in Bentley to gauge the level of support that exists for this proposal.

“We want to find out what kind of services people want their village pub to offer so we can respond to customer demand and ensure we provide a sustainable business that will provide the people of Bentley with the services they want to use.”

Tom Nichols, at commercial property agent Everard Cole, which is marketing the pub, said it has received a lot of interest.

“We would be delighted if the community came forward,” he added. “While the owner would like it to continue as a pub, they have to explore all options and some prospective buyers are looking to change its use. “If there’s a chance for the community to buy the pub as it’s a real opportunity for Bentley and we would be delighted to engage with them.”

Anyone wanting to get involved in the project should email savethecase.bentley@gmail.com or visit the Save The Case Bentley Facebook page or follow @savethecase on Twitter.