Excited villagers are celebrating this week - after clubbing together to buy their local pub and save it from closure.
Residents in Balcombe banded together to pledge money to buy the Half Moon pub after owners Enterprise Inns put it up for sale with an asking price of £385,000.
This week the villagers made a second offer - after their first was rejected - and finally had it accepted.
“We are all very excited,” said Sara Hill-Dalton, spokeswoman for the Save the Half Moon Steering Group.
A ‘Community Benefit Society’ is now being set up to formally buy the freehold of the pub.
The society is to establish a management committee, elected by members, to run the pub.
“We could not have got this far without the support of the Balcombe community,” said Sara.
The pub buy-out follows a public meeting attended by hundreds of locals and held at the Victory Hall earlier this month when many villagers pledged financial support.
Said Sara: “Sufficient funds have been secured to enable us to proceed with the acquisition.
“We are seeking further investments to help with refurbishment of the pub, and to reduce the amount of the loan that we have already secured.
“We are actively seeking further pledges - minimum of £500 - which will make a real difference to the success of this venture.
“Potential investors should contact Rodney Saunders who is our acting secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
She said that the community would need to raise around £430,000 to fulfill the sale offer and cover additional purchase costs.
Villagers are determined to keep the Half Moon as a thriving community hub.
Meanwhile, new interim managers have been apppointed by Enterprise Inns to run the pub until the sale is finally complete.
A spokesman for Enterprise has already said that the Half Moon would trade as an Enterprise Inns pub until a sale was finalised.
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