Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Bell in Bath toasts independence a year after £600K community buy-out

The people who bought the Bell in Bath made an important and exciting bit of British Pub History.

Although it wasn't exactly a first - communities have bought their locals - what was particularly exciting about the Bell was the pub's ongoing business viability - which made it an expensive buy - and the speed at which its punters rallied and immediately understood the pub's intrinsic value to them as a community which was more than a price tag can reflect.

Pubs, especially thriving pubs like the Bell, can't be valued in folding money, their true value lies in the depth and spread of their social capital - how much they mean to their community. And what's really important about the Bell is the inspiring example it set of a community coming together to quickly surmount raising a seemingly unimaginably huge amount of money to buy 'their' pub.

This has inspired other communities to work together to buy their local as well - very often in much more difficult circumstances where the pub is owned by recalcitrant pubco freeholders who've asset stripped successive tenants until the pub's been run into the ground and is not fit for purpose any more.

Let's hope the Bell's success continues and remains an inspiration to hundreds of other communities who value their pubs for what they can be when looked after well - great places like the Bell!

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