Published: 17:38, 29 June 2013
Regulars have given hours of their time for free to re-open the Medway Queen pub in Chatham under community ownership.
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A much-loved pub has re-opened today after a community campaign.
The Medway Queen, in Street End Road, Wayfield, shut earlier this month amid falling takings.
Regulars were horrified to hear brewery chain Enterprise Inns was considering selling it – which could have seen the building turn from a pub into housing or a shop like Tesco.
So dozens of them have spent all week in overalls with brushes and rollers giving the pebble-dash venue a lick of paint.
Enterprise has allowed cleaning company boss Andy Bristow and business partner Bobby Beck to reopen the pub temporarily while the firm considers its future.
Mr Bristow, 52, of Chestnut Avenue, Walderslade, said this afternoon: “We're open and it's heaving. You can hardly move in here."
He added: "It’s been a huge concerted effort by regulars who use the public house.
“We’ve been in a position to throw a bit of money at it and the residents have given their labour for free. We’ve spent thousands of pounds in here this week.
“This is our chance to prove ourselves to Enterprise. If we can make a go of it maybe they will want to keep it as a pub. We couldn’t have done it without the residents.”
Today’s launch began at 2pm and includes live music until late.
We previously reported the residents had launched one of Britain’s first “community right to bid” applications under a law passed last year.
The legislation forces property owners to allow more time for offers on a popular asset, such as a pub or village shop, so locals can get the resources together to make their own bid.
Residents are still pursuing their application. Ward councillor Sam Craven (Lab) said: “The Medway Queen has been given a temporary licence, which is great news and allows us more time to work on saving it as a community pub.”
Built in 1967, the pub is popular for its view across Wayfield Recreation Ground, where parents can keep an eye on their children.
Churchill Avenue resident Lorraine Clarke, 48, has marked several milestones in the pub – including her son’s 21st, daughter’s 18th and her own hen night.
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