Thanks to all who attended our meeting on Saturday 4th February at The Church of The Good Shepherd – it was great to see so many new faces there! Five months since its closure, The Dyke Pub remains a furniture shop. We’ve heard from the owners that they are intending to submit a planning application to convert the building to part retail, part pub and build houses on the back garden.

This application concerns the Save The Dyke group. It’s likely that a smaller pub (probably without a kitchen and no garden area) would fail – and the close proximity to new houses would mean noise issues. It could be closed within months, leaving us back at square one, with a shop on the corner (but with two new houses in the garden).

So, we believe that the best plan of action to save our pub – and keep it as a pub, kitchen and garden – is for the community to buy it, and this was the focus of our meeting. Woody and Jo introduced the Dyke Pub Preservation Society (read more about that here) and explained how it’s possible for us to raise funds to buy the pub ourselves and to run it as a community venture. The preferred option is to run this as a Community Benefit Society – a democratic organisation where all shareholders will have an equal vote, and have the protection of limited liability. In addition, the Society has support from The Plunkett Foundation (who help communities to run co-operatives, particularly through their More Than a Pub scheme) and there are many options for further funding which will considerably reduce the amount of money that would need to be raised.

We were joined by Max and Mark from the Half Moon Inn in Balcombe – who have recently secured the purchase of their local pub. They offered plenty of advice on selling shares and getting people on board. In addition, Dave from Exeter Street Hall told us about their successful campaign a few years ago, and how the Hall has brought the local community closer together.

We’ll be sharing more news on the Dyke Pub Preservation Society soon. Please spread the word amongst your friends and neighbours about this exciting new development in our campaign!