How we saved The Crown
To save our pub from the hands of property developers, ‘Save The Crown’ began!
The campaign was launched by the South Moreton Community Benefit Society (‘SMCBS’) in January 2018 at a highly successful Meeting and Social, held at a barn on Hall Farm. Jo Rolfe and Tristram Kendall presented the vision, current situation and plans in their presentation. We should take a moment here to thank The Plunkett Foundation (dedicated to revitalising rural communities), who helped and supported us throughout our campaign.
Following the meeting a Press Release was released, to get our campaign out in the media (and, as it turned out, national media too. Our campaign had came to attention of a documentary-maker at the BBC and over several months, they filmed our events and critical campaign points. The result was ‘One Day That Changed Their Lives’, a compendium of many community-led initiatives, aired in 2019 on BBC1).
In April 2018 another event was held, again at Hall Farm Barn, to announce the result of our share offer; Paul Jackson revealed to the audience of more than 100 villagers (and the BBC cameras) we now had more than 130 shareholders and that our target for community investment of £230,000 had been hit!.
“I firmly believe in the importance of keeping local community venues open, especially in rural villages like South Moreton. This meeting was obviously a tremendous success. The number of local people attending, showing their enthusiasm and commitment, and sharing a wonderful social event together was truly heart-warming. It would be great to have a pub here again and, as a Celebrity Masterchef finalist, I’m keen to advise on the menu!” - Ulrika Jonsson
The Share Offer and Business Plan launched in March 2018 and come April 2018 an offer of £365,000 was submitted to the developers to purchase The Crown.
This was rejected. But we didn’t give up…
SMCBC successfully applied for a grant from South Oxfordshire District Council and in June 2018 our improved purchase offer of £390,000 was formally accepted by the developers. At last - The Crown was ours, back in heart of the Community!
Following the purchase, work started on getting the pub back into tip-top shape straight away. After 30 years of little or no investment from the brewery, the task was huge: two new roofs, a new bar, two log burners, a brand new cellar and kitchen were all needed, plus a full refurb/redecoration throughout. This was achieved largely by the help and support of a dedicated band of volunteers and local businesses. Our ‘Frame of Fame’ (just inside the entrance to the Crown) shows those who went above and beyond.
Brilliantly, our pub won CAMRA’s ‘Pub of the Year’ for Oxfordshire in 2022. Well done to our Landlady Di and her team.
If your village is facing our situation, remember: brewers and developers depend solely on inertia to get their plans through. If you organise and show you won’t back down, they will back off and move on to easier prey… so FIGHT! Please feel free to contact the SMCBS Committee if you need any help or advice.
Become a Shareholder.
Want to become part of our success?
Interested in becoming a shareholder?
Want to gift shares to your children or grandchildren?
Shares may be purchase from as little as £50 (we’ve reduced this requirement from £250) - if you are interested in being a Shareholder and supporting The Crown, please complete the shareholder form and send to email@example.com