This has been an extraordinary year for our pub. After four years of protest since the pub was closed, it has been inspiring to us all to see how, given the opportunity, the community has rallied round to help save the Packhorse.
The fundraising campaign has been the most eye-catching development. A total of around £600,000 raised by sale of community shares over the summer allowed us to buy the pub in September. Since then, investments have continued to arrive and the total raised now stands at £720,000 from over 320 individual shareholders. We are hugely grateful for their generosity!
We’re grateful too for the efforts of the dozens of volunteers who have freely given their time and professional expertise to the cause. From the surveyors and valuers who have helped us prepare detailed plans to restore the building and who are now supporting the process to appoint builders, to the volunteers who have cleared the gardens and stripped the building ready for restoration. Their work has saved tens of thousands of pounds in costs and has helped us make rapid progress.
That progress is evident in the detailed plans before B&NES at the moment. They describe an exciting prospect: more off-street parking, public sitting and dining rooms on the first floor, indoor loos, improved garden and better kitchen.
After the care taken in preparing the plans, and with 103 messages of support recorded during the consultation period, we are hopeful that planning permission will be granted in early January. That should allow building work to begin in January/February and for the pub to be open in some form by July 2017.
We will need to raise another £160,000 in the New Year to complete the funding of the building works. But right now, let’s enjoy the achievements of the last eight months or so. Join us on Boxing Day (Monday 26th) from 12 noon to 4pm to celebrate progress and look forward to 2017. And if you’ve not experienced the unique atmosphere of the candle-lit tap room with blazing log fire, abuzz with conversation, then this may be your chance…
Above all, thank you for your support and encouragement over recent months and a merry Christmas to you all!