Campaigners launch share plan to make historic Saffron Walden pub community-owned

PUBLISHED: 10:57 11 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:04 11 April 2017

The Railway Arms pub in Saffron Walden

The Railway Arms pub in Saffron Walden

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An action group campaigning to save a Saffron Walden pub from being turned into housing has proposed the building is taken over by the community.

STRAP – Save The Railway Arms Pub – is planning to launch a share issue which would see the Station Road building become Saffron Walden’s first-ever community-owned pub.

The Railway was registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by Uttlesford District Council on March 30, which means a six-month moratorium can be activated to allow community groups the opportunity to table a bid for the pub.

STRAP says the plan would provide Saffron Walden with a community pub, selling food and drink at reasonable prices and allow interest groups to use the facilities.

The action group is inviting members of the public to a meeting at 8pm on Wednesday, April 19, at Saffron Walden Town Hall, to hear more details about the proposed scheme.

A spokesman for STRAP said: “STRAP has achieved its primary aim [of obtaining an ACV] and now needs to give rise to a new organisation with the aim of providing a community pub, which sells good quality food and drinks at reasonable prices while supporting the widest possible range of interest groups to help address local needs.

“The proposed format is a Community Benefit Society (CBS), established by, and for the benefit of, the community.

“Community shareholders would decide the management strategy and see the pub professionally run and focused on the needs and wants of the customers.”

STRAP says a community share issue would raise capital, estimated to be around £400,000, to purchase the pub and any renovation and refurbishment work.

Under the CBS model proposed by the campaigners, the value of shares will not increase and members financial benefit is confined to the interest dividend, which is agreed, set and paid annually.

Shares can only be sold back to the society at face value.

STRAP will have pledge forms available at the meeting and will be asking members of the public for their opinion on what the pub should offer the community.

For more information, search STRAP on Facebook or follow @savetherailway1 on Twitter, or contact davekenny@gmx.com.

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