With pubs across the country closing at an alarming rate, communities across England are using a recently adopted law to save their local pubs.
The 2011 Localism Act is giving new life to neighborhood pubs in England facing closure. Writing in The Spectator, Geoffrey Wheatcroft reports that the 2011 law has allowed for organized communities to prevent the closure of their beloved pubs by essentially turning them into co-operatives. Residents of the town of South Stoke (near Bath), have used the law to try to save their local, The Packhorse, which was shuttered four years ago by the large pub operations company that had owned it.
Under the 2011 Localism Act, the Packhorse was declared an asset of community value, the first time this had been done by Bath and North-East Somerset Council (known as ‘Banes’, and sometimes the bane of one’s life, but on this occasion on the side of the angels). Then the Pack Horse South Stoke Ltd was registered as a society under the 2014 Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act, selling £500 shares. More than 1,600 pubs are now protected under the 2011 Act, according to the Campaign for Real Ale, and several dozen are being kept open by local co-operatives.
Residents of South Stoke continue to raise funds for the purchase of The Packhorse, with £76,150 still needed to take it over.
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