Joint ownership plan to create Chippenham real ale pub

Rory Audsley-Spence says 27 people are already interested in his proposed buy-out

Rory Audsley-Spence says 27 people are already interested in his proposed buy-out

First published in News
Last updated

Real ale fan Rory Audsley-Spence is keen to transform the New Inn in Chippenham into a co-operative.

The Punch Taverns pub, next to the post office in New Road, is up for sale and Mr Audsley-Spence is gathering interest in the area to make a community purchase.

He wants to turn it into a micropub specialising in real ales.

Mr Audsley-Spence, a former branch secretary of North West Wiltshire Camra, ran the Holly Bush pub in Alcester, Warwickshire, for four years until 2005 before retiring, and is now helping to manage the Buttercross Inn in Chippenham.

He said he was hoping for 20 people to make his co-operative plan viable. After putting the word out on Facebook and at a Camra meeting, he said 27 people had expressed an interest.

He said: “It is a real mix of people – not just Camra members but also accountants, builders, an asbestos consultant. It is an investment. We are getting a pittance from the banks, so anything that can get a better return is worth it.”

The pub has been on the market for about a month with James A Baker in Bath, priced at £175,000 plus VAT for the freehold. The agent said it had received a fair bit of interest.

The plan is to sell shares at £500 each and give one vote per member, regardless of input. Shareholders would own the freehold and either bring in management or run it with volunteer staff like a community shop, to be determined in a vote.

He said: “All options are on the table at this stage.

“The primary step is to secure it. I’m trying to get it listed as an asset of community value with Wiltshire Council.”

He would like to install a microbrewery in the storeroom at the back, so the pub could produce its own beer for sale on the premises and also perhaps to other outlets.

He said: “In order to maximise efficiency, we would limit what we sell, so just ales and ciders.”

The 19th-century Grade II listed pub was run by Lionel Hadland for more than 20 years before he retired. To get involved, email newinnchippenham@yahoo.co.uk

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