The White Horse, between Leeds and York, and The Duke of Wellington, close to Lincoln, have both been bought by local community groups from the UK’s largest leased and tenanted pub company.
Both venues faced uncertain futures, however the sale of the two pubs within their local communities has ensured that both remain as public houses for the foreseeable future.
Ei Publican Partnerships sold The White Horse, in Main Street, Church Fenton, after reaching an agreement with Church Fenton Community Hub. The local group borrowed £355,000 from the Public Work Loans Board to buy the long-standing pub, which dates from 1881.
Parish clerk Jeremy Sherlock said: “Village support has been critical, and our success is testament to the strong community spirit in Church Fenton. We’re also grateful to the Public Work Loans Board for lending us the money we needed to buy the pub.
“Our next step as a community is to look at completing an internal and external refurbishment of the pub. These are very exciting times for everyone in the Church Fenton community.”
Ei Publican Partnership estate manager David Lea said: “We had a buyer at a similar price for alternative development, but felt the community group, having made significant efforts to raise the funding, should be given the chance to purchase the pub.
“It’s pleasing to see the villagers in Church Fenton take on The White Horse, thus securing its future as a pub. We wish them the best of luck.”
Ei Publican Partnerships agreed a similar deal with Leasingham Community Benefit Society, which has bought the village’s only pub, The Duke of Wellington, for £232,000. The Lincoln Road site, which was designated an asset of community value (ACV), temporarily protecting it from change-of-use or demolition, will now be reopened by the residents’ group.
Leasingham Community Benefit Society chairman David Warner said: “The opportunity arose for the people here to safeguard the future of The Duke of Wellington, which has been, and will now continue to be, a real asset to the village.
“Initially I approached the Plunkett Foundation who support people in rural areas set up and run community businesses, so I have to say a huge thank you to them for lending us a helping hand”.
Mr Lea added: “As a business, Ei Publican Partnerships regularly reviews its estate, and unfortunately there are some that no longer meet our ownership criteria, and so we offer them for sale. As in the case of The Duke of Wellington, wherever we can we endeavour to work with local communities that are keen to purchase our pubs and keep them trading.”