A High Peak community has been left devastated after their bid to save their local pub was dealt a major blow.
Villagers in Bamford had raised the money needed to buy The Anglers Rest, but the pub’s owners Admiral Taverns have now agreed to sell the property to a third party.
The pub was registered as an Asset of Community Value, giving locals six months to raise the cash needed to buy it. By last weekend, they had collected £187,000 from 180 people and also had £150,000 in agreed finance - sufficient money to buy the pub, which they intended to run as a community hub. The group said they had instructed their solicitors to start the conveyancing but despite having agreed in principle a sale price with the Bamford Co-Operative Society, Admiral Taverns have now agreed a sale with a third party.
Jonathan Bury, member of the Bamford Co-operative Society said: “We are devastated. Admiral Taverns had agreed with us a price, and been kept informed about our progress all along. We have started the conveyancing process - we just don’t understand what more we could have done. Our village Post Office branch is also under threat and we would have saved it by relocating it into part of the pub.
“This move threatens the future of our village. If this sale goes ahead Bamford will lose its post office along with all of the benefits of the multi-faceted business we intended to run.
“Our project was set to be a major success story but due to this surprise move by Admiral Taverns we may fall at the very last hurdle.”
Andy Clifford, Property & Strategy Director, Admiral Taverns, said: “We have agreed to sell the Anglers Rest as a going concern to an individual who is committed to working with the community of Bamford to ensure the pub remains as a pub.
“We understand there will be some concerns about the future status of the pub and possible implications brought about by a sale. To this end we have made arrangements for representatives of the local community to meet with the purchaser to ease any concerns about the pub’s future.
“There was interest from a local group representing the community in purchasing the pub and we understand the frustration that some people will now feel, given that a sale has been agreed with another purchaser.
“We would like to make it clear that, for more than a year, we have engaged fully in discussions over a sale to this local group representing the community, and have given them the opportunity to buy the pub. We offered to exchange contracts on a sale of the Anglers Rest and to wait for up to 12 months to complete the transaction, which we felt was an accommodating and reasonable position but the group decided not to proceed on this basis.
“I would like to stress personally, and on behalf of the company, that the pub is not at risk. It is afforded protection under its asset-of-community-value status and has an incoming owner who is fully committed to preserving the pub for the local community.”