Community purchase deal rescues North Yorkshire pub after 12-year battle

Residents of a North Yorkshire village can finally drink to their well-earned success after a 12-year battle to save their pub.

The once thriving pub, which has been closed for more than a decade, will open its doors again after the community purchased the premises following years of failed negotiations.

The Travellers Rest in Skeeby, near Richmond, called time in 2008 and has stood empty ever since, following a planning tussle involving its owner and Richmondshire District Council over its conversion into housing.

The Skeeby Community Pub Society (SCPS) was formed to fight the change of use planning application and gather support for the purchase and renovation of the Travellers Rest as a village pub and community hub.

On 17 January the group’s perseverance paid off as it was handed the keys to the building after the sale was completed by North East law firm Muckle LLP.

The Travellers Rest will be remodelled and fully fitted out ahead of its reopening.

The SCPS now owns the land and buildings and is looking to agree a lease with a tenant to run the licensed business.

To date, the group has sold over £200,000 of shares to over 160 people – mostly locals including Richmondshire MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak – but also people from as far away as Quebec, Canada, Sydney, Australia and California.

The group has also benefited from Richmondshire District Council’s Community Investment Fund.

Shares are still available to purchase as it’s expected a further £60,000 will be required to complete refurbishment.

Carol Wilkinson, chair of the SCPS, said: “Heartfelt thanks go to our legal team at Muckle LLP for their perseverance, The Plunkett Foundation, for their advice and guidance, Richmondshire District Council for having the confidence to award us a CIF grant and of course our shareholders and supporters.

“12 years is a long time to keep a dream alive and without the hard work and dogged determination of the entire committee, past and present we would not have triumphed.

“We still need to raise the rest of the funds required to complete the refurbishment. However, we are now in a position to pursue additional grant funding and are confident this brilliant news will help reignite shareholder interest.”

Giles McCourt, associate solicitor in the real estate team at Muckle LLP, said: “We are thrilled to have completed this purchase despite the number of challenges along the way.

“It’s wonderful to support a project that is so important to the community of Skeeby, and we can’t wait to see how the project progresses.”