Ramsey St Marys villagers plan to buy back pub near Peterborough which has stood empty for years

A community-led plan to form a committee and buy a pub in Ramsey St Marys has been backed by the MP for North West Cambridgeshire

By adam barker
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2022, 5:22 pm

Villagers in Ramsey St Marys are hoping to buy back their village pub, which has stood empty since the start of the pandemic.

As well as turning the pub into a hub for the community, residents also want to turn the function room upstairs into either a cafe or space to run a mum and baby group.

The decision to form a community committee to purchase The Lion pub was reached at a meeting organised by resident Micky O’Donoghue, 62, at the Ramsey Community Centre on March 7.

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The Lion pub on Herne Road will hopefully be turned back into a thriving pub, if villagers are successful

There were 46 people were in attendance, including the mayor of Ramsey and Huntingdonshire district councillor Steve Corney.

Residents and local businesses will be offered the opportunity to buy shares in the pub and the committee hopes to work with the council to secure government grants.

"There is a fantastic function room upstairs," Mr O'Donoghue said. "One of our plans is to divide the room with sliding doors and shutters so it could still be used as a function room at the weekend and we could partition it off into several rooms during the week which could be used for book clubs, mother and baby clubs, or a coffee and cake shop - whatever the community want to use it for.

"What I would like to do is use the kitchen facilities to offer catering courses to the community to help get young people into the catering industry. I’d like to get a good chef in to teach the kids at the local school and college how to cook to get them into the catering and hospitality industries."

MP Shailesh Vera for North West Cambridgeshire has also thrown his support behind the campaign - and visited the pub on March 1.

“I was delighted that Shailesh Vara came to the pub as it was a good endorsement,” Mr O’Donoghue added. “He is willing to direct us to the treasury, who announced in the budget last year that they will be introducing a new community support grant.

“It is a pot of money put aside to help communities buy their own pubs because of the amount which closed during the pandemic. The next round of funding for that is in May this year which we should be ready for.”

The committee have arranged a viewing of the pub this Friday (March 18), where members of the community will get the opportunity to take a closer look at the pub ahead of their first official committee meeting on March 28.

Villagers plan to use the Plunkett Foundation as a model and sell shares to members of the public to fund the purchase.

MP Vera said: “I was pleased to hear of this initiative. As well as serving as a pub, The Lion will be able to provide residents with a venue for various other local activities.

"Moreover, the share scheme will offer everyone the chance to get involved in this enterprising local venture."