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MP backs drive to reopen pub

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Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie is supporting a community-led drive to buy and reopen the Old Neighbourhood Pub in Chalford Hill.

Until a year ago, the pub was an important part of the social fabric of the village and has been sorely missed.

Residents say its closure marked a further decline in local amenities for an otherwise vibrant community with a population larger than Nailsworth but with a fraction of the businesses, services and social venues.

In response to an extensive community survey, a group of residents wants a new vision for the Old Neighbourhood as a pub and social hub. Siobhan met with the residents driving the project on Friday to discuss their plans. 

The building and adjacent car park have been registered as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ buying time for residents to set up a Community Business Society.  This will allow them to access grants and develop a community share offer in the hope of making this happen. 

On behalf of the community group, Tim Woodfine said: “We thank Siobhan for her support and interest in our exciting plans. 

“In addition to the social benefits of acquiring and re-opening the pub, members of the community share grave concerns about the future of the pub car park which caps a former quarry filled with asbestos. 

“While there would be vociferous opposition to its potential development for health and environmental reasons, the community is keen to realise the benefits of maintaining this open space to support the pub, bring back the mobile traders and other services, and provide community event space. 

“Realising the community’s ambitions is by no means certain but all agree that the effort must be made to safeguard and bring back this precious asset.” 

Ms Baillie said: “Thank you to all the local residents who took time to come down to show support at short notice. I did not get to talk to everybody but I can feel the energy for this project and know that we can put together a meaningful community plan for the pub to come back to life as a much-loved and well-used community hub and business. 

“We have been successful with getting match funding from government for another local pub recently and I will happily back the Old Neighbourhood and help in any way I can.”

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