Kimpton villagers bid to buy their local pub

Kimpton residents collectively known as Save Our White Horse have come together to put in an officia

Kimpton residents collectively known as Save Our White Horse have come together to put in an official bid for the pub - Credit: Archant

Villagers are pushing ahead with a bid to purchase their local pub to ensure it remains a focal point in the community.

The White Horse in Kimpton, a Grade II listed building, closed last April and was put up for sale by brewery McMullens - much to the anger of local residents who wanted to see it retained as a pub.

Now, after fighting off a bid to change its use from commercial to residential and successfully getting it made an Asset of Community Value (ACV), the White Horse steering committee has put in a bid to buy it.

The bid was submitted yesterday (20) and the steering committee is now drawing up a detailed business plan for its future.

Steering committee spokesman Neil Burns said that support for saving the pub had remained ‘as strong as ever’ since a Save Our White Horse campaign was set up last summer.

And residents had put their hands in their pockets to enable the steering committee to make a bid to buy the freehold of The White Horse which is on the market for offers over £525,000.

Neil explained that although ACV status ensured that the community was given time to express interest and make a financial bid, there was no obligation on the owners to accept it.

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But as soon as it came on the market last week, the committee had agreed that there was sufficient commitment to purchase it.

He said that the committee envisaged it as a food-led pub concentrating on good quality local products. “We don’t want to duplicate the other pub in the village so the business plan is around a greater food content.”

The key factor would be the appointment of a good landlord/landlady or manager to ensure the pub was warm and welcoming not only for villagers but those from outside Kimpton as well, he went on.

While the committee thought that they would need to spend a ‘reasonable sum on it’, the interior was just as it was when it closed although the furniture had been taken away.

Neil added: “Everyone we have spoken to who has looked at the location has said there is no reason why you shouldn’t make it a viable entity if you do it in the right way.”