Residents in east Greenwich have launched a campaign to buy the closed Star & Garter pub and turn it into a community venue.
This website revealed last month how the pub’s owner – the Greenwich Hospital charity – plans to put the building on the market. The pub, on Old Woolwich Road, was forced to close last August after a man was stabbed there.
Now the Save the Star campaign hopes to take advantage of laws around assets of community value to buy and reopen the pub so it can be run “by the people of east Greenwich, for the people of east Greenwich”.
“Rather than see another faceless chain move in, or the historic property developed into soulless flats, we think there is an opportunity to create an inclusive community hub,” the organisers told 853.
“Much of the appeal of east Greenwich rests on its sense of community. It is the reason many people have moved here and remain here. The presence of an inclusive community pub would, we feel, greatly enhance that community spirit.”
Ideas already put forward include a community kitchen using surplus food to make meals for those that need them, a volunteering forum, creative clubs for children and a base for historical tours.
There are over 140 cooperatively-run pubs in Britain. One of the best-known is the Ivy House in Nunhead, which was saved from development in 2013 after locals raised £1 million to buy it and is now a thriving community venue.
A similar campaign, backed by Jools Holland and other musicians, is under way to save the Ravensbourne Arms in Lewisham and buy it so it can be a community music venue.
The Star & Garter was designated an asset of community value, which means the owner has to tell the local council if it plans to sell the pub. The council is then supposed to tell the community – and if a group wishes to buy it, it has six months to put in a bid.
The Save the Star campaign is already working with the Plunkett Foundation, which helps support community businesses.
It has until September to put in a bid, and is looking for help in organising fundraising and putting in a realistic bid. It is also looking for locals’ views on what they want from a community pub.
For more information, visit starofgreenwich.co.uk.
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