Community purchase project launched to save historic Newport pub

The White Horse, Newport The White Horse, Newport

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
7:47 AM

Punters have “a matter of weeks” to generate enough interest to ensure last orders are not called on an historic community asset.

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The White Horse in Newport has been put on the market as a freehold establishment for £250,000 by owners Greene King.

The brewery has said it aims to sell the venue “as a pub” but customers and members of the community have raised fears that it could be closed or converted for other uses if snapped up by private individuals.

A committee has now been formed to push forward a community purchase project, with the aim of raising enough money to buy the pub and retain its use within the village.

Committee chairman Mike Hannant, who is leading the bid, said: “The White Horse has been a public house for over 300 years and provides a central social hub and meeting place for residents and local groups, including the village darts, cricket and football teams. The retained fire officers and local tradesmen meet there, as well visitors to the village.”

The committee will investigate potential funding and operating models and will be particularly looking at purchases which have been successfully applied in other villages.

If successful, the committee would then look to apppoint a manager or landlord to run the pub on the community’s behalf.

But time is running out. “The timescales are difficult although we know the landlord tenancy agreement is up at the end of April. So we have a matter of weeks,” Mr Hannat said.

“There have been many written expressions of interest from those willing to make contributions towards the purchase of the pub. But we need more to help ensure the community would be able to purchase the White Horse for the benefit of the village and future generations.”

A spokesman for Greene King said: “After an extensive review of the pub, we have determined that the White Horse no longer fits within our core estate. We have taken the decision to put the property on the market and sell it as a pub.

“The White Horse will remain open while we look for a buyer and will continue to welcome our customers.”

• Anyone wishing to help financially, or has expertise or time to contribute to the process of a community purchase, should call Mr Hannant on 07801 717091 or email mikehannant@aim.com.

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