Bristol pub campaigners to fight on despite funds failure

Fundraisers said they had been amazed by the donations from locals
Image caption Fundraisers said they had been amazed by the donations from locals

Campaigners trying to buy their local pub say they will fight on despite not hitting their fundraising target.

Locals have been selling shares in a bid to raise the £300,000 needed to take The Windmill into community ownership.

But they have only managed to raise about £170,000, leaving them having to hope a brewery will buy it.

A planning application to turn the pub into flats, rejected earlier this year, has been resubmitted.

The Save the Windmill Pub group said it had been “amazed” at the generosity of the 428 people who bought shares.

“Every one of those investors believed that The Windmill could be saved and was prepared to delve into their own pockets to support the cause,” said the group in a statement.

“We are extremely proud of our campaign and the fact that the community rallied behind us in such large numbers.

“As a campaign group we are not giving up and will now work to try and encourage a brewery to purchase the pub as we have shown that it could be a successful business with 428 investors ready to be the first customers through its doors.”

Image caption The pub closed in March, just before lockdown

The share offer was carried out using the website Crowdfunder, which will ensure the investors will get their money returned.

The pub’s owner Mike Cranney said The Windmill remained for sale and he hoped a buyer could be found who wanted to keep it as a pub.

But as he still has to pay business rates on the pub, Mr Cranney said he had no option but to pursue the change of use application.

“The likelihood of a brewery coming in after the pub has been on the market for two years – especially in the current climate – remains a remote possibility,” he said.

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