Wivenhoe: Regulars club together to stop 500-year-old Black Buoy pub from closing

A group of 35 people are trying to buy The Black Buoy pub in Wivenhoe.
L-R John Moores, Mark Bielec

A group of 35 people are trying to buy The Black Buoy pub in Wivenhoe. L-R John Moores, Mark Bielecki, Bob Waters, Angela Dumas, Hally Palmer - Credit: Archant

Drinkers in Wivenhoe have clubbed together to buy a 500-year-old pub they feared might close down.

A consortium of 35 people have pooled resources and agreed terms with pub operator Punch Taverns for The Black Buoy, which stands near the River Colne in the village south of Colchester.

The group will not disclose how much they are paying for the pub, which was on the market for £350,000 last year. They hope to have exchanged contracts by August and plan to refurbish the property before opening in the autumn.

According to group member Mark Bielecki, regulars decided to look into buying the pub themselves after it closed several times in recent years.

He said: “Punch Taverns had unsuccessfully put tenants in on several occasions and then put it up for sale last October.

“We didn’t want to lose the facility, so we started to ask friends and contacts if they were interested in becoming a shareholder in it.

“It’s a substantial investment. We’ve negotiated a price with Punch and raised enough to buy the pub and renovate it.

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“Left as it is, it would probably fail but we want to make a number of changes, such as being able to serve food.

“It’s near the river and the coast path, and we think it will be an attractive destination for walkers and canoeists, and other passers-by.”

Spokesman for the group, John Moores, said around 80% of the shareholders are from Wivenhoe, with the rest having a connection to the area.

He added: “They are just people who want to see a decent pub saved.

“It’s a cracking old place, probably the oldest pub in Wivenhoe, and we just can’t let it go.”