This is great news for the Black Buoy and its community catchment who would lose an essential local asset if it were to become housing or a betting shop, Tesco Local or fast food takeaway, the way most pub company discarded pubs tend to go.
And it's good that more and more people all over the UK are buying their loved and almost lost Locals but Jess Jephcott touches on a very good point; pubs, like all businesses, need to be well maintained, well stocked and well run if they are to be successful - no matter who owns them.
Pubs have been failing inexorably for 25 years as they have been catastrophically mis-managed by pubco's asset stripping their lessees; removing all their profit by charging far too much rent while supplying products through the beer tie at twice the price they are available on the open market. This has left the bricks and mortar of much of the national pub estate dilapidated and unfit for purpose which, in turn, has forced pub businesses to fail in unprecedented numbers as customers leave them behind in favour of more attractive and well appointed bars, restaurants and coffee shops offering a more comfortable, better value experience.
The Black Buoy above is a typical case in point: As John Moores from the Wivenhoe community group mentions in a BBC interview elsewhere the pub is: "a 500-year-old building that's been very neglected".
The challenge all these communities face if they don't have experienced pub operators in their midst, is they must learn from the ground up how to fund, buy and refurbish a commercial building; set up a business and to make it successful and sustainable; no meant feat in itself; every time yet another pub comes into community ownership - the wheel must be reinvented again and again and again and there is not enough professional advice and resources available nationally to keep up with the rapid and exciting changes in the spreading zeitgeist there is towards the way pubs need to be run if they are to be fit for purpose in the 21st Century.
Anyone faced with challenges similar to the Wivenhoe community around their pub could look into support available via:
- Plunkett Foundation.
- Co-operative Enterprise Hub
Also look at the Localism Act 2011 and consider what powers you have to protect your pub from pubco's flogging them off cheap to developers.
Reference the National Planning Policy Framework on CAMRA's website and
Look at the possibility of Listing your pub as an Asset of Community Value.