Victory for community pub group as owner of The Traveller's Rest at Skeeby near Richmond agrees to sell to them

The owner of a village pub which has been closed since 2008 has finally agreed to sell the building to a community group who want to re-open it.

The Traveller's Rest, Skeeby
The Traveller's Rest, Skeeby

The Traveller's Rest has been derelict for over a decade as a result of a planning wrangle which saw its owner's application to convert it into housing refused several times before he lost at a final appeal hearing.

He has now agreed to lower his valuation of the pub in Skeeby, near Richmond, so that a local group can purchase it for £175,000 and raise funds towards renovating it.

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At a public meeting on Sunday night the Skeeby Community Pub Society announced that their offer had been accepted.

Members still need to generate £275,000 in donations and share purchases from supporters to get the project off the ground, though they have been awarded a £50,000 grant from Richmondshire Council.

Chair Kay Richardson said: “When I took over as chair on March 7 I never imagined I would address my first public meeting with the amazing news that we have finally managed to negotiate a deal to buy The Traveller's Rest.

"The many hundreds, or even thousands, of man hours that have been put in to saving our wonderful old pub have been worth every second, and we are especially grateful to those who kept the dream alive over the past 12 years.

"The support we have received throughout our campaign has been truly amazing, and thanks especially for the advice and guidance from Richmondshire District Council, The Plunkett Foundation and the hundreds of steadfast supporters. We hope that we can once more enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company at The Traveller's Rest - a community pub.”

"SCPS is now able to sell community shares. If you would like to invest, all the details, instructions and forms can be found on our website."

In a village that has already lost its shop, school and post office, the reincarnation of The Traveller's Rest offers the group the chance to set up an all-day hub with services such as a book exchange, cafe and parcel collection point.

Local MP Rishi Sunak has backed their plans, which struggled to gain momentum until 2017, when the appeal verdict meant that a change of use for the building was no longer permitted and the group's position became stronger.

Richmondshire Council had indicated that if the dispute were not resolved, they would consider enacting a Compulsory Purchase Order on the site to prevent the condition of the building deteriorating.