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North Cheshire

Campaign for Real Ale

THE RAVEN INN - - - - SAVED!

Campaigners from the Raven, Glazebury are celebrating after successfully bidding for the historic pub at auction end March. The photos show an impromptu gathering outside the pub on 3rd April.

Closed since Autumn 2018 locals have twice fought off applications to demolish the 16thC pub and replace with a housing development. But after a long and often frustrating campaign they have finally achieved their dream of being able to look ahead to reopening the pub as a community-run venture.

Save the Raven Inn steering committee chair Peter Sturman said: “It has been a long hard fight but finally the community has saved the Raven.”

“This is a huge victory for every single member of our community. All those people who attended the public meetings; every one of the hundreds of people who objected to the planning applications; the nearly 1,000 people in the support group; the very substantial number of people, across our community, who have maintained their support, determination and doggedness over the years.”

The pub is in a poor state internally with many of its fixtures and fittings ripped out since it was closed. More recently, whilst it was insecure, people have broken in and removed the wiring along with lead and copper whilst causing extensive damage. The locals are more than aware of the hard work and sheer size of the daunting task they face but remain full of enthusiasm and brimming with ideas for the road ahead.

There is sense of deep injustice that the pub owners were so reluctant to sell to the community refusing offers to purchase the Raven in 2019, 2020, 2021 and again this year. All offers since 2019 were well over the odds and in excess of the final auction sale price. Peter Sturman added: “The Raven did not need to be placed in the hands of receivers. It did not need to be subjected to the disgraceful treatment over the last few years. It could have been purchased, cared for and loved by a community who were desperate to do just that.”

Now the community have the chance to do exactly that and hopefully it won’t be too long before the pub once again opens its doors and we are able to savour a pint of cask ale to mark the return of a much-loved pub. With the strength of a community behind the effort this just goes to prove what can be achieved and hopefully we will have a similar success story to tell about the Holly Bush, Little Leigh in the not too distant future.


LOCAL PUB IN DANGER - HOW YOU CAN HELP

The Holly Bush in Little Leigh

HELP THE HOLLY BUSH

THE STORY SO FAR

The Holly Bush, a 400-year-old pub the in Little Leigh, said to be one of the oldest pubs in Cheshire, is currently experiencing hard times. The pub closed in 2021 and was sold along with separate dining area, car park, guest rooms and beer garden with orchard to a gentleman who promised to keep the pub open and turn the restaurant over to Indian food. However, he immediately put it up for sale at auction in a small number of lots.

THE CAMPAIGN IS LAUNCHED

On realising this, a group of local residents interested in preserving the property as a pub and community asset came together to start the ‘Campaign to Save the Holly Bush Inn’ as a Limited Community Interest Company. Their first action was to get the Holly Bush registered with Cheshire West and Chester as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). The ACV application was accepted, which should have entitled the group to be notified if the pub came up for sale and to be offered the opportunity to buy it. An ACV can also be an important consideration in deciding the outcome of a planning application for ‘change of use’, which could save the pub from being redeveloped for residential or other purposes.

DECISION FROM CHESHIRE WEST & CHESTER

In theory the ACV ought to have prevented the sale of the building lots, but some lots were sold or are in the process of being sold. It seems likely that the vendor and/or purchasers were not fully engaged with the implications of the ACV at the time of sale. Cheshire West and Chester have been asked to decide whether the sales were conducted in accordance with the ACV. A decision, originally due last October, has been delayed for several reasons, but is expected soon.

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

During the legal wrangling associated with the property deals, the campaign group has been preparing for the day when the pub comes up for sale again. Naturally, funds are the main thing they need to make a purchase of this size. The group plans, as many community groups have done before, to offer shares in the pub to sympathetic investors. They have also been sounding out interest from community organizations in making use of the pub buildings in ways that could benefit local residents.

HOW CAMRA MEMBERS CAN HELP

The purpose of this Branch Letter is to ask you to help the group if you can. The campaign has set up an online Community Survey to canvass support for the project to save the pub and to reopen it as a Community Hub. The group hopes that the results from the survey will help convince potential lenders and investors that there is a demand for a community-owned and run facility. Click here to do the survey. Already suggestions such as classes, markets, society meetings have been made. The next thing you can do, if you feel able, is to make a donation using the group’s crowd funding page at GoFundMe. As you will understand, running a campaign like this has expenses such as hiring professional and/or legal services, not to mention IT and other admin costs. Potential donors should note that the campaign group is making a matched funding arrangement with a charitable trust which should double the value of donations.

A COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR LITTLE LEIGH

Lastly, many of us will have seen how successful a community-run pub can be and what an asset they can be to residents. Wouldn’t it be nice to have had a hand in making such an enterprise a success in North Cheshire?

There's more....

Alison Owen, the Group's treasurer, says that the survey is particularly important because, if the target of responses is met, the group can tap into support from external funders.

Cheers!

CALLING ALL LANDLORDS!

Why not make sure your pub's entry is up-to-date?

1) Goto https://whatpub.com

2) Search for your pub and review its details

3) Use the “Send an email to the CAMRA branch” to send in your updates

SIMPLES!

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You can be CAMRA's eyes and ears as the nation's pubs emerge from restrictions by submitting updates to WhatPub

When you hear or see any news about when a pub you know plans to reopen, keep the local branch informed through WhatPub

Simply select the pub in WhatPub then look at the bottom of the entry to find "Send and Email to the CAMRA branch" and spread the news.

It's up to you now!


PULLING TOGETHER

Pubs, clubs, breweries and taprooms are fighting for their survival against the Coronavirus. Many are finding different and innovative ways to help their business weather the crisis. In support of its members and beer outlets everywhere, CAMRA has launched the #PullingTogether Campaign in partnership with SIBA and Crowdfunder

To find out about this national campaign, click #PullingTogether

For information on Pulling Together in this branch, see our own CAMRA North Cheshire Branch page on this website


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You can see the Benefits of CAMRA Membership on the CAMRA Central website.

CAMRA MEMBERS - ARE YOU MISSING OUT??

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CAMRA North Cheshire send a newsletter by email at the start of each month informing members in their area about beer-related activities (both CAMRA and non-CAMRA) happening in the month ahead.

Events listed include Branch Meetings and Socials, local Festivals, Pub and Club Awards and CAMRA Regional meetings.

Our branch is keen to keep in touch with you, but If you are a CAMRA member but not receiving monthly news from your branch, it may be because your email address is not logged with the CAMRA central database.

To check this, all you need to do is to go to the CAMRA national website at https://camra.org.uk/ and log in using your membersip number and password. You then hover over "My Membership" and select Edit Membership Details" where you can enter or change your email address and then save the new values. In the same area you can also adjust your communication preferences.

WHAT ARE REAL ALE AND REAL CIDER?

The CAMRA National Website has a lot to say about the beer and cider you drink in its Learn & Discover pages

CAMRA MEMBER DISCOUNT SCHEMES

You can see information from this branch on member discounts on our CAMRA Member Discount Schemes page

CAMRA calls for urgent Pubs Code Reforms

Explore these and other headline articles on the What's Brewing News Website

Use this link to see the CAMRA National Twitter Feed