Brandon Lewis had a pint with residents at The Norton in Essex to celebrate them taking it over as an entirely community run pub.
In 2009 the local community deprived of their much loved local decided to take action and set about running it for themselves. They set up an action group and a team of enthusiastic local volunteers to restore the pub, staff the bar and get The Norton back in business.
Meeting the dedicated team of volunteers, the minister toasted the innovative community who have now set their ambitions higher with plans to buy the freehold so the community can claim a real stake in the pub by buying shares in the business. The Norton has already raised enough money for the deposit.
Community shares let local people take a more active in role in their communities. Members, as part-owners, have a direct say in their success and encourage people to play an active part in their future. Last month the department launched a new community shares unit that gives advice to residents on how they can claim an ownership stake in local assets and services.
Community Pubs Minister Brandon Lewis said:
“The Norton is not just a cracking pub, a lively atmosphere and vital local business but it is a true example of a resident run pub run that is now firmly in the hands of the whole community. I wish it every success.
“The community of Cold Norton have shown just how determination and ambition can be used to safeguard treasured local facilities - not just so they can stay open, but so they can thrive and grow. It is exactly why we are pushing power away from Whitehall and into the hands of local people who know what they want for their area.”
Paul Guppy Chairman at The Norton said:
“Opening and operating a community pub has been hard work but generally fun, I believe Cold Norton is a much better place to live with a good friendly pub. It is not just about selling alcohol but the place has become a focal point for the whole village.”
The government wants to see community pubs thriving everywhere and has introduced a series of measures to support them including:
- doubling small business rate relief from £6,000 to £12,000 until March 2013 and ensuring rural rate relief is available to public houses
- enabling councils to introduce local business rates discounts to support local businesses, through powers handed to them in the Localism Act
- introducing a minimum unit price preventing supermarkets from unfair sales of alcohol below cost-price and put an end to the so-called cider-tax
- through the Community Right to Bid, the department is giving residents the power to save struggling local pubs by taking them over rather than seeing them empty and derelict