The Black Lion, Skelton-on-Ure: North Yorkshire community saves mothballed village pub after campaign

Residents in a North Yorkshire village have successfully taken control of their local pub after it closed in December 2019.

The Black Lion in Skelton-on-Ure, near Newby Hall, closed its doors in December 2019 when Admiral Taverns bought it. However, with plans from the new owners on hold, the shuttered pub quickly became an eyesore in the village, inspiring locals to take action.

Nearly two years ago a meeting of residents in the village hall was the beginning of a campaign to bring their pub back to life.

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In September 2022 the pub was listed as an Asset of Community Value, providing it with more legal protections in relation to planning regulations.

The Black Lion pub in Skelton-on-Ure.The Black Lion pub in Skelton-on-Ure.
The Black Lion pub in Skelton-on-Ure.

After raising nearly a quarter of a million pounds by last summer, the Skelton-on-Ure Pub and Hub steering group secured a grant from the government’s Community Ownership Fund helping them to make an offer to Admiral Taverns which would bring the pub back into community ownership.

The group’s bid for funding was assisted by The Plunkett Foundation, an organisation which has helped set up the majority of community pubs in the UK, as well as with a number of ongoing campaigns.

Community pubs, according to The Plunkett Foundation, are owned and run democratically by members of the community, with shares set at a reasonable price to allow people to buy-in to the venture.

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Despite taking ownership, there is a lot of work left to bring the pub back into use following its mothballing for four years. Soon after taking the keys, volunteers were clearing the overgrown land outside the pub, while the interior needs to be made safe before work can commence inside.

The volunteer group which has led the campaign wrote on its Facebook page that they had “reached base camp. We still have a mountain to climb, but the summit is now visible.”

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