Residents start a company to build their own pub

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The Independent Online
Fancy owning your own local pub? That is precisely what the residents of Witney in Oxfordshire are aiming to do. Not only that - they plan to build the pub from scratch.

Fed up with waiting for the local council to build a new pub, 12 enterprising residents of the West Witney estate have clubbed together to form Community Pub, their own public quoted company.

This week they posted prospectuses to all 1,250 households on the estate. They want to sell shares in the new group to raise half of the pounds 415,000 they need to build the pub.

If they raise enough support they hope to borrow the rest of the money from the bank. Prospective buyers are being wooed with offers of cheap drinks and free meals if the pub gets off the ground.

Mike Freer, co-founder of Community Pub, said yesterday: "A pub has been planned as part of the estate ever since I moved here. We really need a new local."

If Community Pub is successful, the residents of West Witney estate are unlikely to stop there.

"Our dream is to help people in other communities. We could organise anything from pubs to play schools," Mr Freer said.