Oxford

Northmoor Red Lion pub bought for the community

Red Lion in Northmoor Image copyright Northmoor Parish Council
Image caption The parish council says the Red Lion pub has been in continuous existence since the 1700s

A 17th Century pub in Oxfordshire has been bought by the local community, which has raised tens of thousands of pounds to secure its future.

When the Red Lion in Northmoor was put up for sale last year, locals formed the Northmoor Lion Ltd, secured a loan and bought the pub in November 2013.

Since then, 70 people have bought company shares, raising about £300,000.

Parish council chairman Graham Shelton said the community was "very excited" after six-months of hard work.

"Northmoor has proved that if there is an energetic group of people that want to get things done, you can get things done," he added.

"When the pub came on the market, we feared we'd lose it. Alongside the church and village hall, it's greatly valued by local people and is at the heart of our community."

'Village behind them'

Previous owners Greene King put the pub up for sale at the beginning of the year after failing to find new tenants.

Mr Shelton said villagers explored "making it a community asset" but decided to buy it after securing a loan from "a private individual".

Image copyright Northmoor Parish Council
Image caption Ian Neale and Lisa Lyne have 30 years' industry experience between them

The pub will now be run as a free house and Mr Shelton said the company had been "overwhelmed" with the response to an advertisement for tenants.

It will be run by first-time landlords Ian Neale and Lisa Lyne, who have 30 years' industry experience between them.

Mr Shelton added that the couple "ticked all the boxes" for the local community, including "experience, capability, friendliness and empathy".

He added: "[They] will enable us to regenerate our pub, which has been in continuous existence since the 1700s."

"They have the whole village behind them."

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