Last night, Saturday 10th February 2018, we heard from the team leading the campaign to bring back the 16th century pub that was devastated by fire. The George as it was known was the last pub remaining in Wickham Market, the intention however is not to replace the pub as it was:
“It won’t be like the old George and it won’t be just a pub, it will be owned by the community and be at the heart of Wickham Market”
There are currently more than 50 community pubs in existence with a further 80 in planning stages, these are supported and welcomed by local councils. Of the 50 pubs that have been established all are still successfully trading.
Pubs are popular as a local destination but also useful for the facilities offered such as community rooms. The team explained that it would be:
“A space for local activities and groups, providing local economic benefit, local jobs buying local supplies.”
The plan is to have an external tenant that will run the pub which reports to the Management Committee.
“What is it going to cost to rebuild and develop into something that can be used by the community?”
Key questions that the team went into great detail to explain. The total bill for the project was expected to be £1.6 million:
Purchase of the pub £40k
New Build £540k
External works £140k
Other (fitting out etc) £270k
An incredible figure, but the team told the 120 people attending the meeting that a great deal of this cost could be covered. The pub has significant historic interest, there are a number of organisations such as the heritage lottery fund, the Big Lottery Fund and the Heritage Coast LEADER Programme who fully support redevelopment projects such as this providing significant grants.
Incredibly the team forecast that the community needed to raise just £300,000 to bring the pub back to life. Having carried out extensive research they reported that smaller villages like Somersham, Shottisham, Bentley and others have sourced in excess of £300k for their community pub projects. With Wickham Market being considerably bigger the hopes were high.
The team announced details of a share offer, where individuals could buy shares from just £50 to £100,000, as share holders they get a say on the future of the George.
For further information about the George visit www.wmgeorge.co.uk