A group of residents in the village of Stockbury, near Sittingbourne, have collectively bought their village pub, The Harrow, from Shepherd Neame.
Stockbury Parish Council registered The Harrow as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in 2015. When Shepherd Neame decided to sell the pub in September last year, Stockbury Parish Council was informed and a group of residents decided to try to buy it as a community pub.
A Community Benefit Society (CBS) was set up, which now has 141 shareholders, and purchase of The Harrow was agreed with Shepherd Neame at the end of March 2017.
Shepherd Neame Property and Services Director, George Barnes, said:
“We took the view that the village’s residents were best-placed to run the pub as they understand the market and they are the customers. We’re happy to have been able to help ensure a smooth transition and secure a strong future for the pub.”
Villager Chris Porter – a regular at The Harrow for 25 years – helped set up the group which has bought the pub. He said:
“This pub is the heart of the village and we’re delighted at the number of people who’ve come together to support it by raising a fantastic £350,000. The relationship with Shepherd Neame has been very open and honest – it’s been a really good process. We are grateful to Shepherd Neame for enabling such a successful outcome for the community.”
Villagers formally took ownership of the pub on Wednesday 21st June. They hope to appoint a licensee and will open the pub in early August, following a refurbishment. A formal handover presentation is planned between Shepherd Neame and villagers.
For more information about The Harrow, visit the pub's website.