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In recent years, Britain’s pubs have been closing at an alarming rate and the COVID-19 pandemic may well make matters even worse. Tragically, many of these pubs have been popular and valued community facilities in the past and could be so again in the right hands. It’s unfortunate that many owners regard pubs primarily as property assets which are more valuable if their use can be changed to something else like a house or shop. However, all across the country, communities are fighting back. Sometimes effective campaigning is sufficient to see off an unwanted planning application. In some cases, though, the best way forward for local people has been to buy the pub themselves. Over 150 pubs are now community-owned with many more in the pipeline. Needless to say, as champions of Britain’s pub-goers, CAMRA is hugely in favour of these developments and we are keen to help communities interested in going down this road. We are, though, far from being the only body which can assist. Please download Community Owned Pubs – A CAMRA Guide for information about other sources of advice and, in some cases, funding.
A remarkable statistic around community owned pubs is that, to date, they have a 100% success rate. A few have been sold on to the private sector once the business was re-established but all the rest have survived and thrived. The reasons aren't, perhaps, hard to understand. People in the community with a direct stake in the business will obviously support it and encourage others to do so. More importantly, the whole community will see the pub as 'theirs' which generates levels of loyalty and commitment that other operating models can only dream of. Also, most businesses own the freehold of the pub outright so their outgoings during periods of restriction, like the recent one, are manageable compared with others. Simply put, this is a model that works.