cumbrian community pub model
In a two and a half hour debate in the House of Commons, Rory praised Cumbrian pubs and recommended the Cumbrian approach as a model for the country. Praising the importance of pubs in village life, Rory said “we have 280 pubs in the Eden district alone for 50,000 people-a density of pubs that is more than six times higher than the national average. That reflects the nature of our communities and the nature of our identity. Pubs are essential to the broader economy, but they also have a value which cannot be quantified -a value that spreads into the deepest recesses of English civilisation.”
A great example is the Crown at Hesket Newmarket, Britain’s first co-operatively owned pub, which is an inspiration for communities seeking to preserve their pubs. Rory also spoke about the challenges communities face in pursuing community ownership, saying “The problems that communities face in buying out pubs are the same problems that they face with everything: problems with financing; problems with organisation; problems with regulation, and problems with landlords who refuse to sell. As Members of Parliament, we have a unique role to play on behalf of communities, convincing landlords to sell and convincing communities to come together and find financing, through the Plunkett Foundation or the Big Society Bank.”
Rory has been an active participant in the campaign to save the Butchers Arms at Crosby Ravensworth, launching their bid, making it a key part of the Big Society vanguard project, helping to find £21,000 from Central Government for a feasibility study for the community buyout and even pledging to buy a £1000 share in the pub himself. He has supported the community at Garrigill in their bid to buy the George and Dragon (which he mentioned in the House of Commons debate) and is working with the community at Warcop in their bid to buy the Chamley Arms. Rory is also involved in the Government’s upcoming Localism Bill, which will give communities greater power to buy out local pubs, as well as libraries and village shops.