pub lovers’ hopes of buying and running their local hostelry in Hebden Bridge have moved a step closer to reality.
Regulars at the Fox and Goose in Heptonstall Road, decided to take matters into their own hands when owner Julia Warren explained her deteriorating health meant she was having to sell up after several years at the helm.
She was anxious not to sell it to one of the major pub chains. A meeting to preserve the pub was well-supported by more than 100 people and £85,000 was pledged. About £275,000 will be needed altogether.
Now an interim steering group of eight has been set up to take the project forward.
They will now get down to the serious business of carrying out in-depth investigations into the practicalities of the buy-out – such as surveys, finance and legalities and exploring how best to make the co-operative a viable and sustainable organisation.
Councillor Dave Young, who was elected to chair the steering group, said: “Now things are really moving forward. What this means is that the co-operative is no longer just a dream – it’s a very real and exciting opportunity.
“The Fox Friends believe this is a viable proposition to save this well-loved traditional local and retain it as a gathering point for the community. We will do everything in our power to make this work
He added: “There is massive support in the town for this venture. And if there is one place in the country where a co-operative pub is likely to succeed, it is Hebden Bridge, a town well-known for its strong community spirit.”
Fox Friends also have the support of the Plunkett Foundation which helps villages and towns take control of local assets such as local shops, pubs and other businesses through community-ownership.