This Saturday the Redgrave Community Society are opening the Cross Keys pub, recently acquired by and now run for the community.
The doors of the Cross Keys, on The Street, Redgrave, open at 5.30pm on Saturday 3 March for the first time under community ownership. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the pub, the company and the drinks. The pub’s kitchens will subsequently open on Wednesday 7 March and be providing meals for Mother’s Day on Sunday 11 March.
The Society, which took ownership of the pub in November, took an interest in the pub when the previous owners, Colin and Ann Ceresa, put the Cross Keys up for sale in April 2017. As the pub had been registered by the community as an Asset of Community Value with Mid Suffolk District Council, this triggered a six week period in which a community group could announce its intention to bid to buy the pub.
Driven by the Don’t Lose the Keys campaign in the village, the Redgrave Community Society was founded in July 2017 with the intention of purchasing the pub. In line with the Localism Act, following notification that the owner intended to dispose of the asset, a six week interim moratorium period was triggered. This was followed by a moratorium on receipt of an intention to bid from Redgrave Parish Council. During this six month period, on 24 October 2017, the Redgrave Community Society submitted an offer to Mr and Mrs Ceresa, who accepted.
A representative from the Redgrave Community Society attended the Your Asset of Community Value – the Pub is the Hub day, a free event organised by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils in March last year. Afterwards, they asked the speaker to visit Redgrave to talk more about owning their own community pub. The Community also sought advice and funding from The Plunkett Foundation.
Cllr Julie Flatman, Mid Suffolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “In any locality, a specific place or business can put the heart into the community, and that is doubly true in rural areas. We at Mid Suffolk have been working hard to spread the news of a community’s rights under the Localism Act, and it is heart-warming to see the results that can be achieved: Redgrave have been a real example for us all, as the community pulled together and this Saturday they will see the result of that work, sitting down for a drink in their very own pub at the Cross Keys. I hope many more communities follow their example.”
Fiona Kenworthy, of the Redgrave Community Society, said: “When the Cross Keys was offered for sale to the community, we were at a huge advantage that it had already been registered as an Asset of Community Value. Following a village survey to gauge the commitment of the community to work together to try to buy the pub through the purchase of shares and fundraising activities, we registered our interest in submitting a bid. The ACV gave us a six month period to get ourselves organised as a community to raise the necessary funds without the pub being sold to anyone else during that time.
“Having achieved our goal and picked up the keys on 24 November, the benefits to the community have been more than we had ever imagined; not only the sense of corporate pride and empowerment at having succeeded in buying our own pub which we aim to thoroughly enjoy as a lively hub within our community but, with the large number who volunteered to help with the refurbishment over the past three months, the improved community cohesion has been remarkable. We now look forward to our pub and our community enjoying a bright new future together for many years to come.”
The Localism Act allows communities to register buildings, pubs and shops as Assets of Community Value, ensuring they have the chance to bid to buy them should their owners seek to sell, guaranteeing the future of the asset for their community. Any Babergh or Mid Suffolk resident or groups interested in this process can contact Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s Communities Officer, Stephanie Osborne, via email.