“It’s now or never” - three weeks left to save Saffron Walden pub

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 May 2020

Residents turned out in force to show their support for the Save the Railway Arms Pub campaign. Picture: STRAP

Residents turned out in force to show their support for the Save the Railway Arms Pub campaign. Picture: STRAP

Archant

The chairman of a campaign group has launched an urgent appeal for help to save a pub - as there are only three weeks left to raise thousands of pounds.

Dave Kenny, chairman of the Save The Railway Arms Pub (STRAP) campaign. Photo: Rachel Clarke.Dave Kenny, chairman of the Save The Railway Arms Pub (STRAP) campaign. Photo: Rachel Clarke.

Dave Kenny, chairman of Save The Railway Arms Pub (STRAP) campaign and the Saffron Walden Community Pub, says the community has the chance to buy the pub on Station Road, with additional help from grants and schemes that STRAP has been chasing – but £58,000 has to be raised by June 20.

The Railway Arms pub, which stands in the shadow of the now closed Great Eastern branch line, on the corner of Station Road and Station Street, was purchased by Charles Wells around 2014 but closed in 2017.

Several planning applications from brewery company owner Charles Wells to turn the site into housing were refused, and, in 2018, Uttlesford District Council gave the building an ‘Asset of Community Value’ status.

Saffron Walden Community Pub Limited’s vision is for the Railway Arms to be the first community-owned pub in Saffron Walden.

They have nearly 300 shareholders but have launched this second share issue.

Shares have a nominal £50 value and the minimum investment is one share.

Mr Kenny said: “It’s now or never for us, because if we don’t raise this money and can’t pay a bid in to buy The Railway, then I worry that the owners may try to sell it for development and someone may buy it and leave it to become a ruin.”

Mr Kenny said their aim is for The Railway Arms to be more than just a pub, to provide community facilities. He said: “You might think we are mad to try to buy a pub at the moment, when the industry is on its knees, with pubs closed and due to open last because of coronavirus. We believe we can do something.

“It would be a real shame if we miss the opportunity to buy the Railway Arms now.”

To buy shares, go to www.strap.org.uk


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