THE RACE is on for villagers in Norton Lindsay aiming to save their historic pub.
Enterprise Inns called last orders on The New Inn in July but villagers are determined to keep it open by taking it over themselves.
In 2013 the parish council registered the pub, which has been an inn since 1750, as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) and campaigners have used this status to their advantage in their fight to save it.
The group fighting to save The New Inn, who call themselves the Salvation Squad, triggered an ‘expression of interest’ which has given them until December 8 to put in a bid to buy the building.
Enterprise has put the building on the market for £350,000, and the group has so far had £167,000 pledged to the cause from residents and supporters.
If enough money is raised and their bid is successful, the group are hoping to run not only a pub, but a hub which could house a shop, cafe and a community use space.
Salvation Squad chairman, Rob Brook said: “We only have a limited amount of time to get our act together, for us to stand a chance at purchasing The New Inn.
“While the community are committed to this action, we are not a big village and would be looking to have both a community share offer and a crowd funding option, for people further afield who want to help us to be the salvation of The New Inn.”
Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White has also given the Salvation Squad his backing and recently raised the campaign in Parliament.
Mr White said: “The New Inn has been a real community hub in the past and I pay tribute to everyone involved. It would be great to see the pub back up and running and would encourage as many people to support this initiative as possible.”
And real ale campaigners Camra have also shown their support for The New Inn becoming a community-owned pub.
A spokesman for Enterprise Inns said: “We would be very happy to be able to sell the pub to the people of the village, with whom we’ve enjoyed positive discussions.”
The share offer will be launched at the end of October, outlining the business plan for the pub along with the details of how to invest and become a shareholder.
Visit www.salvationsquad.co.uk for further details.