VILLAGERS have come up with their own solution to the closure of a much-loved village pub.

People living in Orleton want to buy it and run The Boot Inn as a community venture.

But the plan is that it will continue to be professionally run by a tenanted landlord.

However, this is a model that attempts to halt the closure of large numbers of pubs especially in rural areas

Fears regarding the long-term future of the Boot Inn which was closed in June 2017 have moved the Orleton local community to take decisive action.

The threat of potential residential development of the Grade II listed, 17th Century Inn and its land has whipped up strong feelings amongst the villagers for whom the pub is a valued community amenity.

These strong feelings gave the impetus for a packed meeting of more than 90 people at the village hall to give unanimous support to the recently formed not-for-profit Community Benefit Society to raise money to enable the villagers to own their own pub.

“Closure of the Boot has ripped the heart out of our village,” said John Alderman, chair of the Society.

“Such is the strength of feeling amongst residents means our aim now is to safeguard The Boot’s future by selling community shares which will provide the finance necessary to make a realistic bid to buy and refurbish it.

“A tenanted licensee will then be appointed to run the business, with the rent they pay providing funds for loan repayment and interest for the shareholders.

He says that this business model has been shown to work.

“This business model is proving successful at community pubs around the country,” added Mr Alderton.

From just five such enterprises in 2010 there are now 142 and to date there have been no closures. “The Boot has been consistently successful and profitable over the many years it has served our community and it can be a viable and vibrant meeting place again.

“There is enormous scope to develop the business into more than just a village pub, perhaps opening a cafe and a free internet zone, not to mention providing a meeting point for cultural activities and restoring the Boot’s previous reputation for excellent, well priced food.”

The proposals have the full support of CAMRA and the Plunkett Foundation (a charity which supports community buy-outs and enterprises).

In the Orleton and Richards Castle Neighbourhood Development Plan states that 86 per cent of residents believe that The Boot Inn should be protected and the Parish Council has granted ACV (Asset of Community Value) status to The Boot.