A 150-YEAR-OLD village pub is to reopen in the coming weeks thanks to the dedicated efforts of a team of local supporters.
The locals have grouped together to purchase the freehold of the Cadeleigh Arms, which has been at the centre of community life.
The pub has been closed since the turn of the year, when locals came up with the idea of securing stakeholders prepared to finance its purchase. It is now intended that the pub will re-open in the coming weeks under community ownership, with a new publican.
Hugh Sims, who handled negotiations on behalf of the community and is chairman of the group, said everyone connected with the project was delighted that a deal had been struck.
He said progress towards this day had not always been smooth.
"We had to agree a price, and then go back to everyone who had expressed an interest and get them to put their money in the pot, which took longer than expected, but we were delighted to complete the purchase at the start of September," he said.
"We now have a set of keys and have been into the pub and already had a group of volunteers come forward to tidy up the garden and other people coming forward wanting to help."
He said he felt the community ownership approach could be a model for other villages in challenging times for village pubs.
"We are not going to be in the business of trying to extract a big profit, we just want to break even and keep a valuable social resource for the village, which is a more sustainable way of operating," he said.
"The Cadeleigh Arms has been a public house since 1864 and has been at the heart of the village ever since."
Leisure property specialists Fleurets was instructed to market the freehold of the property and it soon became clear the community's wish to retain a pub in the village was more than a pipe dream.
Kevin Conibear handled the sale and negotiations with the community. "It was apparent from an early stage that local residents had strong ties with the Cadeleigh Arms and after extensive negotiations we are pleased we have been able to complete a sale to them, which means it can continue to trade as a public house," he said.
The pub has been purchased by the Cadeleigh Arms Limited, a company made up of 57 local residents and friends.
An open meeting to discuss the appointment of a publican and re-opening timescale will be held at 8pm on Thursday at the village hall. Expressions of interest in taking on a lease of the pub are welcomed.