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MP calls on county council to turn pubs into community hubs

January 3, 2012 12:26 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron is supporting the British Pub WeekSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron is today calling on Cumbria County Council to back his proposal to provide grants to pubs to keep them open and, in return, ensure that they house vital community services such as Post Offices or the local village shop.

Research done by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) shows that two pubs are closing every day. The latest closure locally saw Michael and Leanne Peart, who ran The Fleece Inn on Highgate in Kendal, who are handing the lease on the historic pub back to owners Punch Taverns.

Currently Essex County Council offers grants to pubs of 50 per cent of any capital investment, up to £5,000. Tim would like to see pubs given support to be able to follow the lead of The Black Swan in Ravenstonedale, which is one of 354 pubs and small hotels that have been helped over the past ten years by a charity called Pub is The Hub.

Ravenstonedale residents had to make a 12-mile round trip to buy a pint of milk until landlady Louise Dinnes opened a village shop selling newspapers, groceries and local crafts.

This morning Tim commented: "By giving community pubs a small grant we can help keep rural pubs going and bring back vital community services. I want to see the County Council back this scheme and commit to supporting rural areas. I hope they will join me and back the scheme."