Community bid put in for Railway Arms pub in Saffron Walden

Campaigners outside the pub. Picture: STRAP

Campaigners outside the pub. Picture: STRAP - Credit: Archant

A campaign to save a Saffron Walden pub hit a milestone last week as it put in a bid to buy the site.

The Save The Railway Arms Pub (STRAP) campaign was formed after the Station Road pub closed down on January 6.

Since launching it has raised more than £200,000 – its original share capital target – meaning it has met the criteria of other grant and loan funders, and increased its cash to more than £400,000.

As a result STRAP last week exercised the right in the Right to Bid scheme on behalf of the community.

The pub had been listed as an Asset of Community Value on March 30, putting a six-month moratorium on its sale to allow a community group the chance to put a bid together.

Any bid does not have to be accepted though by the building’s owners, brewer Charles Wells. The moratorium ends today, November 8.

STRAP launched shares at £50 each in the pub in April, and given the continuing interest the committee has decided to extended the share off to December 31. So far £211,000 has been raised.

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Investors may be eligible for tax relief of up to 30% and can expect a 3% rate of interest on their investment.

A STRAP spokesman said: “It was a fantastic week for STRAP and the campaign.

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“Last week STRAP held its latest Pop-up Pub event at Fairycroft House which was well-attended by local residents.

“On Tuesday (October 31) the campaign passed the initial share capital target which meant that the requirements of grant and loan funders were met.

“As of today share capital has reached £211,100. A fantastic, and humbling, sum.

“Significant is the fact this represents the commitment of over 230 shareholder members – over 230 potential customers for the Railway Arms.

“A huge thank you and a warm welcome to all those who have already purchased shares in Saffron Walden Community Pub Ltd.

“Given this position the STRAP committee felt confident enough to make a bid for the Railway on behalf of the community. The offer for the pub is currently with the owners and we await their response.”

For full details go to the STRAP website or call 07399 486114.

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