Residents of Exelby in Yorkshire have celebrated the reopening of their village pub this month after a local community group reached an agreement with Ei Publican Partnerships to buy The Green Dragon.
New tenants Becci and Tom Baker opened the doors for the first time under community ownership on 1 December. Initially the pub will be drinks focused but plans are in place to serve food in the new year. In addition, the pub will house a café and community shop while three rooms above the pub will become B&B accommodation.
Over the past two years The Exelby Green Dragon Community Group has worked to raise funds to buy the pub. More than 120 investors bought shares while further investments are being made to fund a refurbishment project.
The sale included a small cottage adjacent to the pub which will become affordable housing for Exelby, while a large field next to the pub was sold separately, on which planning permission is being sought to build five new dwellings. Plans include a new improved car park for the pub.
George Cornwall-Legh, one of six directors on The Exelby Green Dragon Community Group, said: “From the very start of this project the support and enthusiasm from the local community has been overwhelming. This will make a massive difference to local people who are excited to have a thriving village pub again. The shop will also be a major boost for the village because at the moment we have no facilities like this within walking distance.
“Since we bought the pub in October the support we’ve had has been incredible. So much of our refurbishment work has been carried our voluntarily, both structurally and cosmetically. We’ve opened up the entrance, new stone flooring has been laid and a log burner installed. We’ve extended the bar too.
“We are delighted to have taken on The Green Dragon and we are determined to make sure it’s a thriving pub and shop for our community.”
Publican Tom Baker added: “We are delighted with how the opening night went and with the support that we have received. We look forward to providing the food, shop and accommodation offerings early in the new year. Watch this space!”
Ei Publican Partnership Estate Manager, David Lea, said: “The Exelby Green Dragon Community Group has worked hard to raise the funds to buy this pub and we are sure they will make a huge success of it. Supporting quality pubs at the heart of the local community is something we’re immensely passionate about and we’re very happy to have worked closely with the group to successfully handover this pub. We wish them all the very best of luck in the future.”