Thrilled Loxley villagers had something to celebrate on Saturday night after finally raising the £250,000 needed to save their local pub.
Since last April residents have mounted a determined campaign to raise the cash to buy The Fox at Loxley, after EI Group (formerly Enterprise Inns) announced their intention to sell the property and the land to its rear.
Spurred on by the idea of taking the business on themselves the Fox at Loxley Action Group was founded, producing a business plan to run it as a community venture.
Their vision is for the Fox not just to be a pub, but a meeting place for community groups and to serve as a hub of village life.
As part of the proposal the pub will house a café and it is anticipated that the land to the rear will be used as a community growing space.
The action group was given a helping hand to begin with, thanks to Loxley Parish Council’s decision to register the Fox as a community asset, giving villagers six months to come up with a proposal of their own before the pub was allowed to be placed on the open market.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing though, with the action group falling agonisingly short of its £250,000 target to buy the business via its original community share offer in December.
However as a last throw of the dice, the group re-opened the share offer for a limited time this month, finally reaching quarter of a million pound mark on Saturday, its final day.
Paul Jennings, chair of the Fox at Loxley Action Group, said: “It’s great news, we’ve had an incredible response from the community, seeing the enthusiasm in the village for this really gives you a lift.
“We’re hoping to complete the sale this month and if all goes to plan, we’re looking at opening at the end of March of beginning of April.”
Their efforts have been partly inspired by those of the New Inn in Norton Lindsey, which became Warwickshire’s first community pub in December 2016.
The New Inn, which was recently won the Community Story of the Year Award at the nation Plunkett Awards, used its £250 prize to buy shares in the Fox at Loxley.