Boost for campaigners as historic pub listed
A campaign to save a historic pub from closure has been boosted after it was listed by the Government as having community value.
Residents of Littlehempston in the South Hams are racing against time to prevent the closure of the Tally Ho Inn – which dates back to the 1300s.
Community members were able to 'stop the clock' on the sale by successfully putting it forward to be named as an Asset of Community Value.
Last week community pubs minister Brandon Lewis announced 100 pubs had been listed. "We have known for hundreds of years just how valuable our locals are. Not just as a place to grab a pint but also to the economies and communities of those they serve and that is why we are doing everything we can to support and safeguard community pubs from closure," Mr Lewis said.
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The Grade II listed building closed its doors in November 2011 before members of the community began gathering funds towards the £350,000 needed to buy the building.
Around £130,000 has been raised since June when people were given the chance to own a stake in the building, that has played a central role in the village for over 350 years.
Investors have come from places as far away as Australia, Florida and Venezuela.
The Government listing granted an extension on the period of time, from six weeks to six months, during which the community could submit a formal bid to buy the pub.
"We are desperate to keep the pub open," said resident Bee West. "If the pub stops being a pub, we fear it'll never return."
The Tally Ho Inn has already won support from Totnes MP Dr Sarah Wollaston and on Monday re-launched its share scheme – reducing shares from £1,000 to £250.
Campaign spokesman Ali Thomas said: "This will make it possible for a wider range of supporters to help preserve this local treasure for future generations and have the thrill of being part owner of a traditional pub." Dr Wollaston said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of a wonderful community scheme."
The campaign received a welcome offer recently when the Architectural Heritage Fund agreed to lend £100,000 to help buy the pub.
Mike Thomas, campaign chairman, said: "The aim is not to borrow any money at all, but gaining the approval of the AHF should prove very useful in showing that the project is able to stand up to the detailed scrutiny of a professional organisation."
Residents are fighting to save the hub as part of a wider aim to preserve local heritage. Ms West added: "Village life is all about celebrating the lives of individuals. We would love the pub to reopen and have the community celebrating its people again."
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is running a scheme called #ListYourLocal which aims to get 300 pubs listed as assets of community value.
Mike Benner, CAMRA chief executive said: "By listing their local, communities are ensuring that if the pub is under threat in the future, there is a much-needed extra layer of protection which 'stops the clock' should it be put up for sale."