Campaign to save village pub gains support
PUBLISHED: 12:12 23 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:30 23 May 2018
A campaign to save a much-loved Suffolk village pub has been given a helping hand through a unique programme dedicated to supporting community ownership.
The Marquis Cornwallis, in Chedburgh, near Bury St Edmunds, shut its doors in October last year and villagers launched an action group to fight the closure.
The Chedburgh Marquis Community Hub was formed in January shortly after the parish council advised that the pub – an Asset of Community Value – was being offered on the open market.
The group is aiming to turn The Marquis into a successful community pub alongside a café and shop.
The campaign has now been awarded support from More Than a Pub in the form of a three-year programme, which will see a £2,500 bursary and a package of specialist business advice.
Richard Plowman, chairman of the group, said: “This bursary will help pay for things like the building condition survey, the preparation of a business plan, marketing and fundraising events.
“This is one step closer to the group buying the pub and we as a group are very excited for our future plans.”
More Than A Pub: The Community Pub Business Support Programme is a unique three-year programme established to help support community ownership of pubs in England and grow the range of services they offer to help local people.
It is jointly funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Power to Change.
The programme is being delivered by Plunkett Foundation in collaboration with Co-operative & Community Finance, Key Fund, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Co-operative Mutual Solutions, Pub is the Hub and Locality.
James Alcock, executive director at the Plunkett Foundation, said: “We’re so pleased to be able to support Chedburgh Marquis Community Hub who are working hard to make sure their community can benefit from everything that having a thriving local pub brings.
“Pubs that are owned and run by the community are so much more than a place to buy a drink; they provide important social spaces and services for local people, and are central to their community’s sense of place and identity.”
News of the support comes after a pop-up pub – which is set to embark on a tour of villages who have lost their pubs – has announced it is visiting Chedburgh.
Sharon Longshaw is taking Tink’s Tipsy Tavern on the road across Suffolk and Norfolk and the mobile bar will make Chedburgh its first stop on June 8.
Sharon, a former garden designer, said she will be supporting local residents in their cause by making an appearance with her fairy-themed pop-up bar.
The visit coincides with a public meeting organised by the community hub from 6.30pm at the Erskine Centre to update villagers on the progress of the project.