Alternative bid threatens campaigners’ vision for pub
13:00 23 June 2014
Regulars battling to save Sidbury’s last pub have pledged to keep fundraising after its owners revealed they have accepted an alternative offer – but they may get their wish after all.
The Save the Red Lion campaigners managed to sell shares worth half of the £200,000 they would need to purchase it and begin refurbishment works.
But with the business on the market for 14 months, they say it is unsurprising that Punch Taverns should accept another bid – although the potential purchasers also want to see it kept as a community pub.
A campaign spokesman said: “It was perhaps too big an ask to expect Punch Taverns to work with us for a few more months whilst we continued to seek to raise the outstanding balance required to fulfil our business intentions.”
The campaigners last year used legislation to block the pub’s sale to anyone else for six months – but that has since expired.
The spokesman said he wanted to dispel rumours that the new bid was lower than the campaign’s, and they should know within six weeks if it is successful.
In the meantime, they plan to continue fundraising for their £200,000 target by pursuing a capital grant and investment from potential shareholders.
A Punch Taverns spokesperson: “We have engaged with the group but as they were unable to raise the funds within the six months, as per the legislation, we have opened discussions with a potential purchaser who wishes to keep the Red Lion as a pub.
“We are currently in the legal process and whilst no contracts have been exchanged, we are hoping to reach an outcome that is satisfactory so that the Red Lion will remain as a pub for the Sidbury community.
“If the offer does not complete and the community group raise the funds then we would reconsider the offer.”