High Peak villagers are toasting success this week after winning their battle to save their local pub.
People living in Bamford have spent 18 months working to secure the future of the Angler’s Rest, which they intend to run as a community hub.
Their efforts looked to have been in vain when the pub’s owners Admiral Taverns agreed to sell the property to a developer - but after rescinding the deal, the company have now agreed to sell it to the Bamford Community Society (BCS).
Mark Bawden, of the BCS said: “The only issue we have now is that fundraising has been suspended for the three weeks since Admiral exchanged contracts with a third party.
“Although we have raised enough money to buy the pub and do the immediate work required, we are relying on a loan to make up the balance.
“At the moment we have £184,000 in shares, but the full cost is £320,000, so we would urge people who believe in what we are doing to put their hands in their pockets and buy a share.
“During our campaign nobody could fail to have been touched and delighted by the passion, spirit and commitment of the village community.
“This is a real triumph for local people over big businesses.
“We want to take the time to thank all of the people worldwide who have offered their support.”
Admiral Taverns Managing Director Kevin Georgel said: “While the original purchaser was entirely committed to maintaining the pub as a pub, with the potential of incorporating additional community services, such as a post office, both they and Admiral Taverns recognise the strength of feeling expressed by the residents of Bamford regarding the Angler’s Rest.
“It is clear that the local community feels passionately about taking ownership of the pub themselves.
“Consequently, in the days since the original sale was agreed at the end of August, and in the wake of considerable campaigning by the BCS, we have worked to rescind the sale agreement.”
High Peak MP Andrew Bingham said: “The residents of Bamford have come together over this issue and made it very clear that they want the pub to be owned by the community.
“I’m very pleased that a series of meetings and phone calls between myself and Admiral Taverns – some of which included a very frank exchange of views – have led to Admiral accepting the will of the community and backing out of their contract with the developer.
“I’m now very hopeful that the Bamford Community Society can negotiate with Admiral to bring the Anglers into community ownership, and I’m pleased to have been able to play a part in making that happen.”