Our round! Regulars form co-op to buy pub

Regulars and staff at a popular pub have formed a co-operative to buy up the former 18th-century coaching house.

The Bell Inn in Bath is for sale for the first time in 25 years, raising concern over its future.

A share issue has been launched, with help from the Co-operative’s Enterprise Hub, with the aim of raising almost £1m.

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Steve Henwood, a member of the team behind the plans, said: “The Bell is a thriving and popular pub and people from all over the country have expressed concern at news of its sale.

“We decided to do something about it and have been delighted with the support and interest received so far.

“Our aim is quite simple – to encourage the widest possible membership and bring the pub into community ownership, then ensure all the great things about this historic free house continue to go from strength to strength.”

There has been a near 10 per cent rise in UK co-operative enterprises over the last two years, from 5,450 in 2010 to almost 6,000.

Michael Fairclough, the Co-op’s head of co-operative investment, said: “We are witnessing communities across the country turning to co-operatively-owned solutions. A well-run pub is an important part of a community and enterprises such as this are showing how communities can tackle some of the unprecedented challenges facing our society, environment and economy.”