Can idea be toast of town?

Ye Olde Cross/The Dirty Bottles pub in Alnwick
Ye Olde Cross/The Dirty Bottles pub in Alnwick

An entrepreneur is gauging interest in an ambitious plan which he hopes would help reinvigorate Alnwick’s

struggling social scene.

Mark Jones

Mark Jones

Mark Jones, owner of the town’s I Won’t Tell nightspot and Amble’s Zecca Restaurant, is floating the idea of starting a co-operative pub initiative in the town.

Such schemes, which have proved successful in other parts of the country, encourage widespread community ownership to save or reopen their local boozer.

It comes at a time when a number of pubs in Alnwick are either closed or for sale, and Mark is keen to find out if there would be enough interest to launch one in the town.

He said: “Alnwick has always been an iconic place to drink, but the pub scene is dying in the town and in the next two or three years, some of the pubs could be lost forever.

“Take the Dirty Bottles for example. It is currently closed and on the market, but it is an iconic Alnwick pub.

“Maybe it could be up to the community to save these pubs. I think the co-operative pub scheme is a great concept and it will be good to see what other people think.

“A number of pubs around England have been bought by co-operative schemes.”

Co-operative pubs are set up on a one member, one vote system, rather than on a one share, one vote basis, to create a democratic way of running a community business.

A co-operative pub also aims to be profitable and can distribute profits to its members as a dividend, reinvest the money back into the business or distribute it through community projects to the wider benefit of the community.

Mark has suggested each shareholder would be given a discount card for the pub and believes a £250 minimum share cost would be reasonable. He added: “It is a great opportunity for the people of Alnwick to have a say in the direction that a pub in the town would go, as well as making an investment in a building. There are a lot of positives.”

To register your interest, email Mark at info@iwonttel