Pub may open as early as September following successful offer
- Credit: supplied by Dave Kenny
A campaign group has expressed delight at the news that their offer to buy The Railway Arms Pub has been accepted.
The announcement was made by Dave Kenny, chairman of campaign group Save the Railway Arms Pub (STRAP), during a town council meeting. He said said the group is in the process of exchanging the contract and the pub could open with a celebratory party as early as September.
“It is great that our offer has been accepted. It has been a long time, a lot of people are very happy and will be very happy if we can get the process through,” he said.
He added: “We hope that we can achieve that in 48 weeks. It will be a slow opening. We are hoping by September we can have the pub, that would be great.”
Mr Kenny said the pub could open at least for a short period in September, but he does not know yet when it will be fully open.
This is partly because of the coronavirus crisis, which means the group wants to ensure everyone is safe upon the pub’s reopening.
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Mr Kenny said: “We are a community group making our first steps in the community ownership and we won’t do anything that would put anyone in danger. We have some work to do and we have to understand how we can open a pub in the Covid-19 crisis.
“There will be work to do and you think we would be mad to buy a pub in this crisis, but we want to deliver more than a pub and there is a lot we can do that is not covered by the restrictions on pubs.”
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Residents who want to contribute to refurbishments for the pub, garden and stables, can still buy shares. The share offer will stay open through September.
Mr Kenny said this is because many may have thought the offer would not be successful, and decided not to contribute to the initial fundraiser to buy the pub.
He added: “The stables offer good facilities for outdoors covered seating. It’s old stables dating from 1865, when the Railway first came to Saffron Walden.
“It’s another different atmosphere, the building is full of character.”
Saffron Walden Mayor Heather Asker reacted to the news: “I think it’s fantastic, if they open that would be absolutely brilliant. I think the more people that can support them, the better. It will help residents coming together, that is what has been lost.”
To buy shares, go to www.strap.org.uk