Somerset

South Stoke pub saved by £1m village fundraising opens

Pub
Image caption The first pints were served on Sunday lunchtime

A 400-year-old village pub has been reopened after being saved by the local community.

The Packhorse, in South Stoke, near Bath, closed six years ago and it was feared the building was going turned into private housing.

More than £1m was raised from 430 investors with £500,000 to buy the pub and the remainder spent on renovations to the Grade II-listed building.

It is thought to be the largest community pub buy-back in the UK.

Villagers used the Localism Act to be able to buy it back as a community asset.

'Heart of the community'

Dom Moorhouse, from the Save the Packhorse project, said the pub had originally been bought by a property developer but the local community came together to buy it back for the village.

He said as well as the fundraising more than 1,000 hours of volunteer effort went in to the project, including landscaping the garden, which was a "jungle", and filling 25 skips with rubbish from inside the building.

"What we've done is save the beautiful heritage of a 400-year-old building, but more importantly we've put back, at the heart of the village and community, a place where social connections are made," Mr Moorhouse said.

Image caption Edith and Brian Perkins had their wedding reception at the pub in 1951

The ribbon was cut by 87-year-old Brian Perkins, who was born in a room above the bar when his grandparents were the landlords.

He and his wife Edith held their wedding reception at the pub in 1951.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The pub, which reopened on Sunday, had been closed since 2012

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