Hopes alive for Bloxham Red Lion hub

The Red Lion Pub in Bloxham ENGNNL00120130409115150
The Red Lion Pub in Bloxham ENGNNL00120130409115150

Bloxham villagers have again promised to put their hands in their pockets in a bid to save the community project to buy the Red Lion pub.

A public meeting last week resulted in more pledges to the fund to buy the derelict pub from Fuller’s Brewery.

The Red Lion Hub steering committee described the various possibilities, the most favoured being restoration of the buildings and garden with the premises managed by Wendy Dickins, an experienced caterer who is well known in Bloxham.

The committee had given up attempts to negotiate with Fuller’s last year because the threat of legal charges threatened to prevent them getting loans for a revamp.

But the brewery waived the ‘overage’ charge it had imposed – which would have given it a right to a share of any profit if the building was sold – and the deal was on again.

But Fullers hiked the price from £300,000 to £400,000 and again the project faced being abandoned.

Inspections showed that rot, damp and damage caused by 18 months of being boarded up without any heating or ventilation had reduced the value of the property.

The fund raised by eager villagers, hoping to have a community pub, restaurant, meeting place and village activity centre, was not sufficient to bear the purchase price and the necessary renovation work to the property, and talks broke down.

However the community has continued to investigate a solution which might result in Bloxham getting its village centre community facility after all.

Last Friday’s meeting has given the village renewed hope and the steering group is set to enter new negotiations with Fuller’s in a bid to get the purchase price reduced to a level it can afford.

More pledges are needed however. The Red Lion Hub has been selling shares at £250 each and those who have dug deep into their pockets to be part of the project have come from as far away as Vancouver, Shanghai and Sydney.

The Red Lion Hub website – http://rlh2014.moonfruit.com/ – has downloadable documents including a business plan, a share prospectus and details of where to contact members of the committee for more information.

The site also offers a share application form, bank details and contact information for the hub’s accountants.