Residents planning to buy historic village pub

The Horns Lodge Inn, which dates from the 18th century, has been valued at �475,000
The Horns Lodge Inn, which dates from the 18th century, has been valued at �475,000

A group of Chailey residents are seeking to buy one of the parish’s two remaining pubs.

Their target is The Horns Lodge Inn, which was crowned Country Pub of the Year in both 2011 and 2012 by the Brighton and South Downs branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.

Last year Lewes District Council granted an Asset of Community Value Order on The Horns Lodge Inn to the group of Chailey residents.

This order provides an opportunity for the local community to attempt a bid for the pub should it be put up for sale.

Following notification that the owners wished to sell the pub, a public meeting was held in July to gauge how much support there was for doing this.

The meeting was well attended and demonstrated strong support for the initiative, including pledges of financial support from the community.

The district council has now been notified of the group’s wish to try to bid for the pub and they have been granted until December 8 to develop a business plan, raise the finance and be in a position to bid.

The first step in this process is to form a working group who will undertake the task of making the bid a reality. A number of people who were involved prior to the public meeting are happy to continue and some others have volunteered.

If anyone wishes to be part of the working group they should email their details to hornslodgecommunitypub@mail.com

It is hoped that the working group will be fully formed this month.

The owners of The Horns Lodge, which stands beside the A275 and is believed to date back some 300 years, have had a valuation of £475,000 for the freehold.

Over recent years there has been a small but growing trend for communities to buy their local pub and there are currently more than 100 community owned pubs around the country.

The nearest ones to Chailey are The Half Moon at Balcombe and The Bevy in Brighton. In addition, last year the residents of Barcombe purchased their village shop.

To date no pubs that have been bought by their local community have closed down.

As an indication, most community pubs are funded with a minimum individual investment of £250-£500 and a maximum investment of £25,000-£50,000.