Residents rally support to buy village pub

Villagers are calling to support in a bid to buy the White Hart

Villagers are calling to support in a bid to buy the White Hart - Credit: Archant

VILLAGERS in Weston-in-Gordano are rallying support for plans to buy their local pub.

Enterprise Inns, owner of the White Hart, has announced it will consider offers for the freehold of the historic inn, after attempts to find new tenants failed. The pub closed in 2013 and has been empty for more than nine months.

People living nearby say the White Hart was much more than a pub and was thought of as the community hub.

Because of this, when it closed, they successfully registered it as an Asset of Community Value, meaning it has been officially listed with North Somerset Council as being of social importance to the community.

Under the scheme, the community must be given six months to make a bid to purchase the property, to preserve its social value, before it can be offered for sale for any other use.

At a public meeting held in September, a cooperative share issue was proposed in a bid to raise funds. Eighteen local people indicated they would subscribe a total of £63,000 for shares and many others said they would subscribe but did not specify how much.

As a result, a steering committee was formed, which has since been gathering information and exploring additional sources of funding.

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Weston-in-Gordano resident David Lewis said: “Village pubs are closing at a high rate and communities are losing vital assets as well as an important part of English history.

“The White Hart was the centre of our community and the people of Weston-in-Gordano will do all they can to avoid losing it. We do not want it turned into offices, flats or a convenience store.”

A public meeting will take place at the village hall in Clevedon Road at 7.30pm on June 26.

The meeting is open to all who have an interest in retaining the traditional village pub.

Mr Lewis added: “We want everyone interested in supporting the preservation of the White Hart, to come along to the meeting. We really don’t want this opportunity to slip through our hands.”