Village roars with community spirit to bring back pub

Community spirit is alive and well in one Newport parish as campaigners are determined to secure a future for its village pub.

Members of the Lion Roars Again Campaign Group, including (front) chair Rod Roman, hoping to buy The Lion At Edgmond
Members of the Lion Roars Again Campaign Group, including (front) chair Rod Roman, hoping to buy The Lion At Edgmond

The Edgmond Lion Pub is up for sale and the local community are coming together to secure a possible future for the site in the village.

As a designated Asset of Community Value, the village has an exclusive right to bid for it until 26 August 2021 and campaigners are working with a national organisation, The Plunkett Foundation, on how to create a sustainable plan.

Campaigners from Edgmond and the surrounding areas, who make up the group 'The Lion Roars Again', include parish and borough councillors and local residents who want to see the pub up and running again.

Many knew The Lion Pub when it was open years ago but the pub closed a couple of years ago and the campaign group have highlighted its importance in the area.

Members of the Lion Roars Again Campaign Group, including (front) chair Rod Roman, hoping to buy The Lion At Edgmond

Jeremy Bowan said: "The day I moved in I came down for a drink – that was about 20 years ago now. It wasn't really used that much then but it did become more popular.

"It had a real buzz about the place and to get that back, well it could become a typical village hub again. The pub is in prime position, on two cross roads, so it would be great to have it back up and running again."

Allan Wilson, the chair of Edgmond Parish Council, said the whole project is a real community initiative.

He explained: "The parish council kicked it off by having a charge put on the building to make it a community asset in October 2019. After that, a group of people from the area looked to buy it and this opportunity came up, and it could be the only opportunity the community gets to purchase it.

The Lion At Edgmond, Newport Road, Egdmond

"From the council's point of view it's a great way to support the local community and get the pub up and running again. We need to wait and see until we have got people pledging as to what they can afford towards the cost of the pub."

Rod Roman, chair of the group, said the group has made good progress with public Zoom meetings and by working with The Plunkett Foundation, but there is much work to be done.

"We are following the model set out by the Plunkett Foundation, which we are now a member of," he explained. "It works as one member gets one vote, and you can become a member by buying a share, then we make a bid as a community benefit society.

Land at the rear of The Lion At Edgmond, Newport Road, Edgmond

"The price of the pub includes the land at the back, which is nearly two acres, which means it is a lot more money. Depending on what the community needs, this could provide some housing for Edgmond.

"The borough and the parish council has been really helpful and supportive. It wasn't really that much of a hub in the past but we want to make it more inclusive and a bit more of a cafe in the day for people as they pass through."

Barry Kiely added: "I have lived here for 35 years, and my wife is now 60 and has lived here all her life. We have seen the pub do well, but to pass by day by day and seeing it look as sad as it does, it's horrible. For other people who have lived here even longer than me, they would remember going on a Saturday afternoon when the football was on and not being able to even get a seat."

Rod said this could be the last chance the community has to take ownership in the pub and turn it into a real community hub.

The Lion Roars Again can be contacted at Lionedgmond@gmail.com.

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