Published: 00:03, 17 March 2017
Campaigners who saved an Ash pub from development are inviting people to enter into a community share scheme to help them reopen it.
The Chequer Inn Ash Society saved the 15th century pub from conversion into a house last year.
They have now launched a share scheme to raise more than £400,000 to purchase the freehold so it can be operated for the benefit of the community.
With such a large target to reach, campaigners are inviting anyone interested, especially those in neighbouring towns like Sandwich, Deal and Canterbury, to buy shares of £100 each.
Matthew Titterton, who was one of the original campaigners, said: “The offer is open to anyone from anywhere. The pub has a lot of potential for passing trade and we want to make it accessible and welcoming for all.
“We even had support from people overseas who know the village and want it returned as a friendly local pub, so anyone can be part of our society and buy shares.”
The society says the share offer provides an opportunity for people and businesses to buy into the community where the motivation and payback is more social than financial.
Jane Greaves, from The Chequer Inn Ash Society, said: “We need to raise £430,000 in total to purchase the pub and cover all the associated costs, like essential repairs, refurbishments and start-up costs. To proceed with the bid, we need to raise a minimum of £320,000.
“We would like as much as possible to come from the share offer, as the money we don’t raise from community investment, will need to be financed by a commercial mortgage on which we will have to pay interest.
“The more capital we can raise through the share offer, the less debt will have to be repaid, so all the better for the future of the pub.”
The group are also hoping to receive some grant funding from the Plunkett Foundation.
Mr Titterton says the need for a community space in the village is becoming more apparent.
He added: “Morale with the project in the village has been fantastic, and everyone is looking forward to the day when we can all meet up back in the Chequers and enjoy fine food, drink and banter as there is a gap in the market for a community hub for the village.
“As this campaign grows, more and more are getting involved, and the need for a community space in the village is becoming more and more apparent.
“There is a lot of support in Ash for keeping our lovely pub as a community asset, but there is also the finance and expertise to have the Chequer Inn up and running again.
“Our recreation ground was created through community fundraising and hopefully history will repeat itself again with The Chequers.”
The full details of the offer are listed in the share offer prospectus, which can be download by visiting savethechequerinn.co.uk.
Buying shares of £100 each will make shareholders members of the Chequer Inn Society Ltd, with an equal vote regardless of shareholding.
The share offer will be open until April 18, 2017.
For further information please visit the website, or contact Jane or David on 01304 813010.
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