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The Packhorse Inn in South Stoke, near Bath has been a community pub for centuries drawing locals and ramblers alike over the years. Back in 2012 Punch Taverns, who owned the pub at that time, accepted a lucrative offer on the building by property developers who wanted to turn it into flats. The pub opened in 1498 but then due to its sale closed in March 2012.
The property developers had their plans turned down by the local council, so they decided to put it back on the open market. The 460 local residents decided that they would run a campaign to try and buy the pub back so it could once again be the centre of the village. They were able to use the 2011 Localism Act to buy the grade II listed building. This law enables community groups a period of grace in which to raise the purchase price.
Residents formed a committee and asked for donations from the villagers. They held community fund raising events and turned to the internet and used crowd funding to try and achieve the total. Once they had purchased the pub, villagers volunteered to clear the garden and rubbish from within the pub. Original features such as the fireplace were restored to their former glory.
The pub was opened for everyone to once again enjoy in March 2018. The first pint poured was done so by 87 year old Brian Perkins who had actually been born at the pub when it was run by his grandmother. Mr Perkins had also had his wedding reception in the pub. He said “It was an honour to have been asked”.
Villagers crowded into the newly refurbished pub and it is once again in its rightful place at the centre of village life.