Group will steer Fox pub project forward

Moves to buy out a local hostelry and run it as a co-operative pub have now taken a major step towards reality.

An interim steering group has been set up to take the project, concerning the Fox and Goose, Heptonstall Road, Hebden Bridge, forward.

The eight members were elected from within the wider Fox Friends supporters group.

They will now get down to the serious business - carrying out in-depth investigations into the praciticalities of the buyout, such as surveys, finance and legalities and exploring how best to make the co-operative a viable and sustainable organisation.

From the results of these investigations a business plan will be drawn up to get the project well and truly off the ground.

Councillor Dave Young, who has been elected to chair the steering group said things were now really moving forward.

“What this means is that the co-operative is no longer just a dream – it’s a very real and exciting opportunity. The Fox Friends believe this is a viable proposition to save this well-loved traditional Local and retain it as a gathering point for the community.

“We will do everything in our power to make this work.“

Coun Young said there was massive support for the venture.

“And if there is one place in the country where a co-operative pub is likely to succeed, it is Hebden Bridge, a town well-known for it’s strong community spirit,” he said.

Fox Friends also have the support of the Plunkett Foundation, which helps villages and towns take control of local assets like local shops, pubs and other businesses through community-ownership.

The Fox Friends steering group will need to raise funds for the early actions prior to any buy-out.

At their first meeting, held in the pub itself, it was agreed they should look into any available supporting grants and that the Fox Friends should organise fund-raising activities.

Last month more than 100 people turned up at pub to discuss the possibility of a community takeover and licensee Julia Warren said the meeting was very positive, with £84,700 being pledged in principle by members of the public towards the takeover, and selling to a community group would be her preferred option.