MP backs action group looking to buy village pub in Ripe

The Lamb Inn, Ripe.

The Lamb Inn, Ripe.

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MP Norman Baker said he is backing a community action group which is looking to buy a pub which recently closed in Ripe.

Mr Baker said the Lamb Inn has been up for sale for some time.

But earlier this year it was closed down for good and boarded up by its owner Shepherd Neame.

Now a community action group has been formed with the aim of buying the crucial village amenity, and seeking members of the community to invest in the project, Mr Baker said.

Mr Baker met with Caroline Adcock, Wealden District Council Liberal Democrat candidate for Ripe, and other community representatives to discuss their concerns and to hear more about the project.

He said: “On average 31 pubs are closing a week.

“Pubs are the heart of so many rural communities

“As someone who has long campaigned for community ownership of local pubs, I was delighted to hear about the community action group and their fundraising effort to reopen the Lamb Inn and I will do anything I can in helping them to achieve this.”

The pub is situated on Church Lane in the village.

It is being marketed as a traditionally built detached public house which is part brick and part flint construction.

It is identified as a ‘notable building’ within the Ripe Conservation Area by Wealden District Council.

Mr Baker has been concerned about the high number of pub closures for some time.

He was recently awarded the prestigious “Parliamentary Beer Champion 2014 and 2015” award in recognition of his support for the brewing industry and local pubs.

CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) said research shows 84 per cent of people believe a pub is as essential to community life as a shop or post office. On its website it said they provide ‘a safe, regulated and sociable environment for people to enjoy a drink responsibly and meet people from different backgrounds.’

It said latest figures show that 29 pubs are closing every week around the country.

It said recent years have seen a big increase in community-owned pubs, and the launch of Assets of Community Value has helped provide more advice and guidance on how to go about saving pubs through community ownership.