Community buyout of historic Leeds pub is brewing

A NEW MICROBREWERY could be created if a proposed £350,000 community buyout of one of Leeds oldest pubs is a success.

Campaigners say the derelict former brew house at the back of the Cardigan Arms on Kirkstall Road could be given a new lease of life.

A bid to buy the pub has been launched after current owners Greene King put the pub up for sale for £295,000.

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Not-for-profit community organisation The Cardigan Arms Communities Pub Ltd has been set up and a share issue is due to be launched this spring.

The group is applying for £150,000 towards the scheme from the Plunkett Foundation, which supports communities to set up and run community co-operatives.

Campaigner Chris Hill said A total of 75 people attended a public meeting at the pub on Wednesday, when two Kirkstall residents each offered to buy £10,000 worth of shares.

Mr Hill said: “People at the meeting unanimously supported going for the £350,000. One thing that inspired people was getting the brew house going again. It was originally a stable and later became a brew house for the pub. It has been derelict for decades now, but could be quite easily be brought back for use as a microbrewery.”

Mr Hill added: “It is still a big financial target. In February we will do the surveys and business planning and in April we will raise the money. I am confident that because it’s Leeds first community pub and one of the top 200 heritage pubs in Britain that we will get support in Leeds and from people outside the city.”

Campaigners propose to extend its use in the daytime for community uses. Ideas so far include clubs for pensioners and language classes.

The Cardigan Arms, which dates back to the 18th century, is one of the UK’s top 250 heritage pubs and retains many of its original features.

It was reputedly once visited by Buffalo Bill while he was appearing in his Wild West Show on Cardigan Fields in 1904.

The Cardigan is one of the oldest pubs in Leeds, with its origins in the 18th century, though the current building is largely as it was following a complete redevelopment of the building in 1890.

See the Cardigan Arms Community Pub page on Facebook.