A small group of locals from the Denmead community encouraged friends, neighbours and villagers to support their campaign to save the Fox & Hounds pub in School Lane by pledging to buy shares in what was to become a Community owned pub.
These same locals then formed an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) Company, with the help of the Co-operative Empower Group, named “The Fox & Hounds (Denmead) Community Co-Operative Limited”.
Their aim was to put together a bid to buy, refurbish and then re-open the “Fox and Hounds” as a community pub and restaurant for the benefit of the local residents, who missed it very much.
They had the backing and support of the Denmead Parish Council, Winchester City Council, Hampshire County Council, The Empower group and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), plus the support of Sir George Hollingberry, then MP for the Meon Valley constituency and the Plunkett Group who specialise in supporting community enterprises..
The new Co-operative board carried out a survey to ascertain both the current market value and the cost of the work required to return the building to an acceptable standard and so enable it to re-open and serve quality food and drinks as it had done successfully for over 100 years until 2012.
During the campaign, a board member stated that “The whole community is extremely serious about this campaign to save the Fox & Hounds, and we intend to submit a realistic market value bid for purchase, and then restore it to its former glory, as it is an important local asset and provider of employment”.
The Community Co-operative is supported by the majority of the residents living in the west end of Denmead and many more from the village as a whole, plus some from further afield – including Australia and Canada; and they thank everyone who helped them to get the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) under the Localism Act 2012, which was launched by David Cameron’s coalition government as a way for communities to protect local buildings and businesses.
The campaign succeeded in getting the plans submitted by the previous owners, who had hoped to sell the pub for demolition and redevelopment into two four-bedroom houses with garages, refused in May 2012.
The present members of the Co-operative Board are:
- Rob Stark (Chairman and Founder Member)
Chris Riley (Founder Member)
Steve Foster (Company Secretary)
Martyn Cooper (Finance Director)
Nigel Ellis (Director)
From inception until early 2015 the late Jon Pocock was a Founder Member and Company Secretary but he sadly passed away suddenly in February of that year.