AS much a place to go to drink as to socialise, having two pubs can benefit a community, celebrate their differences while working together, were among points that came from a public meeting at Tedburn St Mary on Wednesday, February 21.

Tedburn St Mary had two pubs until July 2022 when the owner of the Red Lion decided to close the establishment.

He has since made three planning applications to Teignbridge District Council to convert the building into four homes, two being withdrawn after objections and corrections, one other on-going.

It is on the market at £425,000 but owner Terry Tume told the group set up to “Save The Red” that the price to them was £475,000 or an unaffordable five-year lease, which left the group responsible for all existing repairs and further maintenance too!

Save The Red called the meeting to find what support there might be to join the campaign and to explain the benefits of its desire to operate the pub as a Community Benefit Society, explaining the various ways of raising funds to do so.

Chairman of Save the Red, Steve Chambers, thanked everyone for their support, such as CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).

He said their aim was to get the pub open again to serve the people of Tedburn and surrounding area, but it must be profitable and viable.

He added that it was true these were challenging times but that was the case for all businesses and nationally, pubs were surviving.

Committee member Martin Rich said the Red Lion had been part of Tedburn life for many generations, part of what makes Tedburn.

He said its two pubs were very different.  The group displayed factual evidence that there were lots of villages where two pubs worked around each other and were not in competition. 

The group carried out community research and a viability study to secure The Red Lion as an Asset of Community Value.

Explaining an ACV, Mr Rich said: “This has now been confirmed, it was a lengthy exercise, giving us six months to secure the pub.

“We had advice from Plunkett UK (formerly The Plunkett Foundation), CAMRA and the ‘Pub Is the Hub’, plus a lot of help and advice from other organisations who have already completed the process.”

He said with people taking a stake in the pub, it would be owned by the community.  Nationally, 200 pubs were community-owned and the number was growing with most being successful.

“You have a chance to invest in the future,” Martin added.  “We would like Tedburn to be on the map to celebrate having two great pubs.”

The Save The Red group were thanked for their work.  A repeating slide-show showing the Red Lion through the years and posters for events there, plus photographs was shown and much factual information posted in the hall.  

A business plan was being prepared.  There were forms to fill in stating the amount of money a person might pledge or donate. 

“You will own part of a unique building with a rich heritage.  Anyone who invests the minimum of £100, which will be the price of a single share, will have a vote and therefore a say in the affairs of the business,” said Martin. 

“As part of the grant applications we need to establish how much the community is willing to support and invest and whether there is a genuine willingness in the local area to contribute sufficient funds to make the project work.”