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Villagers close to saving Crown Inn at Northwold

PUBLISHED: 12:08 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:08 05 September 2018

The Crown Inn, at Northwold  Picture: Sonya Duncan

The Crown Inn, at Northwold Picture: Sonya Duncan

ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC © 2008

Villagers have been told they can buy their community’s last surviving pub - but they need more money before they can start pulling pints.

The owners of the Crown Inn at Northwold have accepted an offer of £275,000 for the business from the Save the Crown Inn Steering Group.

They have agreed to accept a £250,000 lump sum, with a further £25,000 payable over the next five years.

Some £80,000 has been raised through a share issue, while another £10,000 has been pledged. The group has also obtained a £50,000 grant, a £50,000 loaned and the offer of an further £70,000 loan from a brewery.

The steering group says on its blog: “That’s a lot of debt to launch a business. And it doesn’t leave us a lot to refurbish with.

“So, here’s the thing. We’ve got to the end of stage one. Northwold can now have a pub if it wants one. Do you?

“We need to raise more money. We need you to give what you can. Every pound off the initial loans gives us a better chance of making the pub what we want it to be.”

The group says people can either buy £50 shares in the pub or invest in a loan note.

Effectively, we have enough money to buy it,” said Mark Vanderstay, chair of the steering group. “But when we’d like to do is reduce the cost of borrowing, so we’re still out in the community raising funds.

“Obviously the less we have to borrow, the more money we have to make the community’s plans come to life.”

Villagers rallied round last October, when they learned the Crown was set to close. Within weeks, they had £50,000 pledged towards the cost of buying the pub.

The parish council successfully applied to have the pub registered as a community asset - which gave villagers six months to raise the money to buy it. Negotiations with its owners began, with various offers turned down until the £275,000 price was accepted.

“It feels odd, the closer you get the further away it seems at times,” said Mr Vanderstay.

To buy a share, go online to http://savethecrowninn.uk/.

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