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Don Foster to launch community ownership bid at the Bell Inn, Walcot

February 14, 2024 by Don Foster MP in Don in Bath, News

Don Foster, MP for Bath, will be visiting the Bell Inn in Walcot this Saturday (16th Feb) with more than a lunchtime pint on his mind.

After supping one of the Bell’s many real ales, Don will then launch an exciting new share issue that aims to bring the former 18th Century coaching house into community ownership.

Known for its live music and real ales, the Bell Inn – located in the City’s bohemian quarter - is on the market for the first time in a quarter of a century after its present owner decided to sell.

Joining forces with The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, regulars and residents hope the dream of owning a pub will ‘chime’ with hundreds of people after revealing ambitious plans today (Saturday, 16 February) to preserve their ‘local’.

Shares in the pub start from £500. The group is aiming to raise £925,000 and pay a return of at least 5% per annum to its investors.

Steve Henwood, a member of the team behind the plans - who has been arranging live music at The Bell Inn for over 20 years, said:

“The Bell is a thriving and popular pub and people from all over the country have expressed concern at news of its sale.

“We decided to do something about it and, have been delighted with the support and interest received so far – we are working closely with the current owner and Don has offered help.

“Our aim is quite simple really, to encourage the widest possible membership and bring the pub into community ownership then, ensure all the great things that people love about this historic free-house continue to go from strength to strength.”

Don Foster MP – who is Minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government added:

“The Bell is a cornerstone of the Walcot community and I am delighted to see that people are pulling together to save one of Bath’s great pubs”

“The shareholder scheme is a great example of community spirit in action and testament to the determination and appetite of local people to shape the future of their neighbourhood.

“As Communities Minister, I recognise the importance of community led initiatives and we are giving power back to neighbourhoods through localism schemes such as the Community Right to Bid.

“Coupled with community action, this scheme will provide opportunities for people to step up and step in to save the facilities and buildings that are important, giving them the time to ‘stop the clock’ on sales so they have the time to get together a bid and ensure that prized local assets can live on, this time run by the local community for the local community”

Further information and a copy of the share offer document is available at www.bellcommunity.org.uk/

Community groups interested in co-operative solutions to the running of businesses and services can contact The Co-operative Enterprise Hub by visiting www.co-operative.coop/enterprisehub

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