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Can this village save their last pub?

PUBLISHED: 19:00 16 October 2020

Paul Withams is leading a group of Great Holland residents who are keen to save the last pub in the village from being closed. The Manor pub  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Paul Withams is leading a group of Great Holland residents who are keen to save the last pub in the village from being closed. The Manor pub Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

The Great Holland community is pulling together in the hopes of saving the only pub in the village, after a planning application to convert it to a residential property.

The Manor pub in Great Holland has been on the market for a year with no takers and now the owners have applied to convert it to a residential property.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe Manor pub in Great Holland has been on the market for a year with no takers and now the owners have applied to convert it to a residential property. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Paul Withams has lived in the Tendring village for more than 10 years and was gutted when the owners of The Manor – also known as The Ship Inn – announced their intention to sell the pub as a home after it had been on the market for a year with no takers.

He, along with his wife Dawn and several other residents, decided to launch a campaign to take on the premises as a community pub and a survey of the village recently showed 95% were in support of the idea.

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The 51-year-old said: “It’s something people take for granted when there’s a village pub.

Andrew and Liz Fairbrother. Nick Nash and Anne Fairbrother and Paul Withams and Roger Frere. are part of the Great Holland group who want to save The Manor pub from closure. Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDAndrew and Liz Fairbrother. Nick Nash and Anne Fairbrother and Paul Withams and Roger Frere. are part of the Great Holland group who want to save The Manor pub from closure. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“However once it’s gone I think everyone would really miss it and that shows from our discussions with the local community.

“It would be such a shame to lose our last pub in the village for good and we’ve seen how successful these community pub schemes can be so I hope we can make it work for us.”

Mr Withams has been in close contact with the group who run the Maybush Inn, Great Oakley, which successfully reopened as a co-operative pub in May 2016, and four years on is thriving.

The pub is supported by the Plunkett Foundation – a charity dedicated to helping create community businesses such as pubs, shops and cafes.

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Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has been campaigning to save local pubs long before he was elected to local government and is passionate about protecting them.

“When pubs close the heart is torn out of the village,” he said.

“It is so much more than just a place to go eat and drink. It is a place for people to sit and talk, face to face not over some device. It’s a place to discuss politics, to hear each others problems and offer help.

“I know the Great Holland pub very well and it is the centre of the community.

“It is vital to save it.”

The success of the Maybush is proof the scheme can work and the Great Holland group are keen to replicate its model.

They are proposing shares of £10 are sold withing the community, with a minimum buy in of £100, and aim to receive pledges totalling between £200,000 and £280,000 to enable them to buy the pub.

To share your support, fill out The Great Holland Pub survey here.

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