Efforts to safeguard the future of the Plough Inn in Longparish, Hampshire, which dates to 1721, are today being recognised by the Campaign for Real Ale’s Pub Saving Award, which celebrates people who have come together to save a pub from closure.
When the pub closed its doors – seemingly for good – in December 2015, local villagers sprung into action, lobbying local planning officers to deny planning permission to turn the pub into a residence. They subsequently used grants, donations and a community share scheme – which attracted over 300 investors – to purchase the pub, in conjunction with the Parish Council, in February 2021.
After months of incredibly hard work, completely refurbishing the property inside and out, and three hundred years after it first began trading, The Plough Inn is once again at the heart of the Longparish community. Bought with help from their Parish Council who now own the Plough Inn, local villagers have taken on a 99-year lease from the council for the exclusive use of the property to secure and safeguard the future of the Plough Inn as a public house and promote it as an amenity of prime importance to the community.
Andy Jolliffe, chair of Longparish Community Pub Ltd said: “At the core of a community pub is the local people that it serves. Our aim in taking over the Plough Inn has been to provide a range of services much wider than just the provision of food and drinks to the local community.
“To see the Plough Inn thriving once again, both as a popular destination pub, and a vibrant and valued community asset at the heart of Longparish village is a fantastic achievement.”
The runner-up in the competition is the Three Horseshoes in Helions Bumpstead in Northwest Essex – another fantastic success story of a local village taking the fate of their local pub into their own hands and ensuring the pub is run as a community asset.
Paul Ainsworth, Coordinator for CAMRA’s Pub Saving Award said: “Huge congratulations to the dedicated villagers who have saved both the Plough Inn in Longparish and the Three Horseshoes in Helions Bumpstead. Pubs play an irreplaceable role in bringing people together, and the decision to purchase and run a pub as a community is a real commitment to preserving its future for generations to come. It is a real privilege to be able to highlight these efforts. Well done to everyone involved.”
CAMRA has resources and support for anybody looking to save their local, and the Pub Saving Award highlights how groups across the UK have managed to do it. You can find CAMRA’s ‘Saving Your Local Pub’ Guides, plus more resources and contacts for advice from www.camra.org.uk/saveyourlocal