Britain’s first urban co-operative pub was launched as a new report shows that pub closures have accelerated to one every three hours. The Star Inn in Salford was given three weeks’ notice of closure but, after locals clubbed together, the pub is back in business as a community-owned co-operative.
The new pub coincides with the launch of a report, ‘Calling Time on Pub Closures – The Co-operative Answer’, by Co-operatives UK which documents rising trends in pub closures and sets out advice on creating co-operative pubs. ‘Calling Time on Pub Closures – The Co-operative Answer’ is co-written by Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, and Julian Ross, who helped to set up the pioneering co-operative pub The Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket in rural Cumbria.
Ed Mayo said: “Pub closures can be like pulling the plug on localcommunities. It is scandalous that pubs like The Star Inn are beingclosed at three weeks’ notice and it is a tribute to the community inSalford that they responded in an innovative answer to the threat ofclosure.”
“The Star Inn has been part of the community since 1867,” said Margaret Fowler, a local resident. “People really missed it when it was closed down and that brought us all together to invest our own cash to re-open the pub. It really was easy to set it up as a co-operative and now we have got our pub back, it’s the most fantastic feeling in the world.”
Julian Ross added: “The Old Crown became Britain’s first co-operatively-owned urban pub and we have shown that by working together, we can preserve something that is very important for the community. As a group, we believed we could safeguard our pub’s future and turn it into a co-operative, and I want to help encourage other communities to try what we have done.”