THE future is looking brighter for a village pub which had been facing closure.
The Star Inn in Whiteshill has been up for sale for over a year, and in January villagers raised concerns that without a reasonable offer on the table, it could shut down for good.
Determined to save their only village pub, a group of residents launched a campaign to buy the 300-year-old hostelry for the community.
The Save Our Star steering committee floated the idea of residents clubbing together to purchase the pub, which has a guide price of £300,000.
And, after witnessing the level of community support for the pub, a buyer has now expressed an interest in taking it on.
“The overwhelming amount of public support that was evident seems to have rekindled commercial interest in taking over and running the pub,” said Mike Burchell, chair of the Save Our Star steering committee.
“We have said all along that we would not progress a community bid for the pub, if there was a commercial bid to run the pub with a strong community focus.
“We have now received confirmation that such a bid has been made.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with the bidder to ensure that community interests are fully recognised.
“The pub is listed as an Asset of Community Value, and a moratorium has now been placed on the sale of the pub to prevent its sale other than as an operational pub.
“The moratorium runs until June 2020. If the present commercial bid for the pub does not achieve a satisfactory conclusion, we will re-activate the community purchase option and press on with completing due diligence and fund-raising to ensure that we are in a position to make a bid on behalf of the community before the moratorium deadline expires.”
So far the steering group has raised £7116 in donations and they have also received a large number of pledges towards the cost of buying the pub.
If a community bid is not made for the pub, the remaining balance of money in the fund will be returned to the donors.