Essex village pub reopens after community raises £300k to buy it
PUBLISHED: 11:17 08 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:17 08 October 2017
An Essex village pub, which was saved after the community raised more than £300,000 to buy and restore it, has opened its doors to excited customers.
The King’s Head in Pebmarsh, near Halstead, revealed a new sign on Saturday to mark the opening of the renovated building on a permanent basis after villagers rallied behind a community ownership scheme.
After the previous owners retired in September last year, the pub closed down and was put on the market for sale, which led to volunteers in the village taking action.
The Friends of the King’s Head organisation was launched with the aim of reopening the pub as soon as possible as a community-owned venture.
Shares were sold at £50 each and the community responded quickly with £275,000 pledged within the first three months.
More than 300 people have now invested in the pub, with some from as far away as the USA and Australia.
Jonathan Nott, of the Friends of the King’s Head, said: “The day was fantastic and there was a great atmosphere.
“There must have been a turnout of more than 200 people and the place is looking brilliant.
“The King’s Head is more than just a pub, it’s a real social hub for the village.
“We’ve had 300+ investors from the immediate locality to as far away as Canada, America and Australia.
“Well over £300,000 was raised and along with generous support from the Plunkett Foundation and Essex County Council, we were able to buy and refurbish the building.
“The purchase secures the future of the pub for the village and that is very important.”
New landlords Debbie and Stuart Fraser, who also run the Thatchers Arms in Mount Bures, were delighted to open their doors to villagers.
Debbie said: “It was an amazing turnout and there was a really lovely atmosphere.
“I think people are really pleased to have their pub back and the committee has done a fantastic job.
“To get more than 300 investors is amazing and we hope to do them proud.
“I think everyone really liked the new look.
“A huge thank you to all those who have supported myself, Stuart and PCP Ltd in getting our village pub open again.”
The pub will initially be open for drinks only, but a food menu will be available from Tuesday, October 17.