Campaigners fighting to save the Fox and Goose in Hebden Bridge and create West Yorkshire’s first co-operative pub are issuing a “last orders” rallying call to their supporters.
More than 100 people have invested in the community project since a share offer was launched last month, applying for shares worth nearly £65,000. The share offer target has just crossed the all- important 50 per cent mark - but now there are just four days left before the offer closes.
The target has been set at £130,000 to buy the well-loved real ale pub on Heptonstall Road and to cover essential repairs which will have to be done urgently to keep the Fox up and running – although nothing will be done which would change the traditional character of the historic pub.
About half of the investors are from Hebden Bridge itself, with others coming from across Calderdale and the rest of Yorkshire – but there are also funders from as far afield as London, Nottingham, Chesterfield, Stratford and Burton upon Trent.
Councillor Dave Young, Chair of the Fox Friends Steering Group is one of the founder-directors of Fox and Goose (Hebden Bridge) Ltd, the community benefit society set up to buy the pub. He said: “We are absolutely delighted at the level of support we have received – and I understand it is unusual for a community share offer to raise this much in such a short time. But we now need a final big push to take the Fox out of the danger zone and safely into community ownership, so that it will remain a pub at the heart of our community long into the future.”
Unlike many of the pubs saved by communities across the UK, the Fox and Goose is still very much open for business, but it is under threat because of the deteriorating health of the landlady. There are now around 19 co-operative pubs in the UK and, so far, not one has had to close.
The Fox and Goose is steeped in history – with records of an ale house on the site going back to medieval times. Calderdale Council has formally listed the pub as a community asset, which means the local community has to be given first option to buy it.
Councillor Young added: “We want to say a huge thank-you to all our loyal supporters who have rallied round so far to help us save this real community asset. There’s still chance to apply for extra shares if you want to help us get across the finishing line this weekend. And now we also need to reach out to those who’ve not yet bought their shares to remind them that time is running out.
“If the community doesn’t buy the Fox then the hard truth is, it will close – and lots of people from all walks of life will lose a very special meeting place. But we’ve still got a few days to go and with your help we are confident we will be able preserve this precious part of our heritage on behalf of the community for generations to come.”
For full details of the share offer and how to apply for shares see the panel on the right.