Wiltshire Publications

Issue 445 – Villagers go into business to save Edington’s pub

Villagers in Edington are putting plans in motion to buy the village’s empty pub and run it themselves.

The Lamb Inn, owned by Enterprise Inns, closed down in July, and apart from a two-week period for the Edington music festival, has remained closed since.
The Lamb was the village’s only pub and was the social heart of the village. Residents have decided to form a company together to try and buy The Lamb from Enterprise Inns to run as a community pub.
They are hoping that they may even have it back in business by Christmas.
Mike Davies, who is leading the effort said, “The Lamb was the hub of the village, it served all parts of the community. There was something for everyone, like coffee mornings for the elderly residents for example.
“You can’t take something like that away – things are not the same. Since the pub shut there has been a big difference, the amount of social activity in the village has closed down. The pub used to run events to get everyone in the village together.”
Taking their inspiration from other successful community pub projects, the villagers want to create a limited company to buy its freehold.
“We are setting up what that structure would look like,” said Mike, who added that he hoped the whole village would get involved with suggestions on how the pub could be run in the future.
So far around 50 villagers have expressed an interest in the project.
The idea has also received backing from Ashley Hunt, landlord at the Garden House Hotel in Westbury, who opened The Lamb during Edington music festival.
He said, “We opened the pub to assess its potential as a business, but my gut feeling was that situated where it is it just wasn’t viable. It would make an excellent community pub however.
“We noticed a great community spirit and atmosphere, more so than you get elsewhere. It should work well as a community pub, but there’s no guarantee that they would be able to buy it on the open market.”
The company will offer shares to every village resident, and hopes to attract enough investment to safeguard The Lamb’s continuation as a pub.
Mike says their biggest worry is that the building will be sold for conversion to houses.
“We really hope that the villagers rally round and join those of us already involved in putting together a new business that will be run by the village, for the village,” said Mike. “If the pub is put up for sale to be converted for any other purpose, I am sure there will be an outcry, so now is the time for the village to club together and do something about it.
A spokesperson for Enterprise Inn said, “We can confirm that the freehold is for sale. It is on the open market and we will welcome all offers and consider them equally.”
If the residents are successful in purchasing their village local, they’re hoping it won’t be too long before the beer is once again flowing in The Lamb Inn.
“It would be fantastic if we could open for Christmas,” said Mike.
If you would like to find out more about the idea, or get involved then email: thelambatedington@yahoo.co.uk.