Community pub’s future is secured

The Black Bull in Lowick.
The Black Bull in Lowick.

The future of the Black Bull in Lowick has been secured after years of uncertainty.

A supportive local investor is buying the property and Lowick Community Ventures has been invited to take out a lease on terms that are favourable for the long term with the proviso that the pub will be redeveloped and brought up to proper standards, be community-focused and that people in Lowick will be engaged in developing the vision for its future.

J Mark Dodds, who is part of the take-over consortium, said: “We are now working on bringing all this into place with the aim of getting the pub back into use around July 2016.”

He has called for more people to get involved in helping to shape the pub’s future and dismissed rumours that it would be run by volunteers.

“What we want is more people to be involved with a bustling, busy, successful business that people will be proud of,” he said. “The pub will serve the village and complement all the other businesses in Lowick and bring lots more people into the village from further afield.”

The group has been granted £1,000 by EDF Barmoor Windfarm Community Fund to improve communications and develop the vision for the pub’s future. Two further grant applications are awaiting feedback. A community share issue is also proposed.

A meeting is also scheduled with the Plunkett Foundation, the UK’s specialist charity for supporting communities in buying and developing pubs for community benefit, which is giving its support in developing a community-wide survey which will be distributed in early December.

Hawthorn Leisure, the owners of the Black Bull, put the property up for sale, but campaigners successfully applied for it to be made an Asset of Community Value which meant it could not be sold for any other purpose than as a pub until 2019.