The Fox Inn in Middle Barton, West Oxfordshire, is a Grade II listed 18th century pub.
Over the last decade, the pub has often been closed for significant periods of time.
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At the end of June, the owner put the Fox on the market for £495,900 and it has been closed ever since.
Villagers successfully applied for ACV (Asset of Community Value) status for The Fox in 2021, and they now have until the end of this year to make a bid.
Richard Brown MBE, who is is leading the bid, said: “In today’s world, pubs need to totally reinvent themselves, both in the way they are run and the way they are used.
“We know that community pubs have more than a 99 per cent success rate. We believe that only our community can ‘Save Our Fox’.”
John Madden, vice-chair of the group, added: “We’ve been very busy.
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“We launched a survey and used the results to set out a vision for an accessible, welcoming space at the heart of our community.
“At the same time, we commissioned a structural survey which told us that the building is in good shape and a commercial feasibility study which confirmed that the Fox can, as a Free House under community ownership, be a profitable business.
“We joined the Plunkett Foundation, who have helped many communities save their pubs, and set up The Bartons Community Benefit Society.
“During the autumn, we held some community events to raise awareness.”
The shares campaign is being backed by former EastEnders actress Tamzin Outhwaite.
The Society’s Treasurer, Sue West, said once the pub has been bought a landlord would be recruited to run it.
She added: “Our Business Plan sets out how we intend to pay interest on investments and reinvest any surplus in our exciting plans to transform the Fox into much more than a pub.
“We have been overwhelmed by the very strong community support we have seen so far. We have collected pledges of £123k, with many more people interested in investing. People have given many hours of their time and expertise, helping to put our Business Plan and marketing strategy together.
“The community has shared photos and memories to revive the history of this pub, a talented local carpenter has even reproduced the village stocks, which stood at the side of the pub until 1868.”
There are now a number of community-run pubs around the county.
The most well-known is the Lamb & Flag in St Giles in Oxford, which is being run by a community interest group called The Inklings.
You can buy shares and read the Share Offer Document, Society Rules and Business Plan at: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/save-our-fox
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About the author
Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here.
He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.
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