The high-profile fundraising campaign which resulted in a 15th century pub that had been closed for six years being successfully re-launched as a community pub could provide a template that could save others from closure.
That is according to Cotswolds specialist Peter Brunt, a director in the Hotels Agency team at Colliers International, who has applauded the way in which locals raised more than £1million and used a little-known law to save the Packhorse Inn at South Stoke, near Bath, from being turned into flats.
However, he added that communities must be prepared to stand by their local pubs all-year round if they are to survive and thrive.
Peter Brunt, who has bought and sold more than twenty pubs in the last two years, said: “This successful high-profile community fundraising campaign could serve as a template for other locals threatened with closure.
“It was great to see the crowds outside the newly restored Packhorse Inn and I wish the new operators all the best in getting the business back on its feet after the truly remarkable fund-raising programme which made this possible.
“This was a marathon effort – there was no magic wand solution. What they will need to see is the same enthusiastic support not only through the spring and summer but into next winter – when the novelty of rescuing this fine community pub from dilapidation has worn off a little.”
He pointed out that many village pubs end up in difficulties because the locals residents do not become regulars.
“Country pubs are businesses – and if people don’t support them they will give up the fight and shut down for good,” he said.
“Having a quality local pub in the community reportedly boosts property values by around ten per cent – they are community treasures and worth hanging on to, as the locals in South Stoke will atest.
“Communities need to support their village pubs all year-round, and not just at Christmas or when they are under threat of closing down altogether. People need to be popping in for a pie and a pint on a rainy Tuesday evening to keep our publicans going.”