Our Story - The Blue Bell at Cocking, West Sussex

More than just pub, it’s hub for the community

The Blue Bell is a community run village pub, restaurant, café with bed and breakfast accommodation in Cocking, West Sussex. Owned by over 130 investors and with more than 50 donations, read our story below of how it was achieved.

Summer 2017

The Bluebell, as it was then called, was put up for sale, the previous tenant surrendering the lease to move on to pastures new.

Late October 2017

The Bluebell at Cocking, West SussexA sad time for the locals that used the Bluebell as the pub closed its doors for the last time.

August 2018

The new owners apply for Change of Use to turn the Bluebell into two dwellings. The planning application received over fifty objections.

October 2018

With all the interest shown for keeping the Bluebell as a pub and our local Postmaster talking about retiring, the Blue Bell Community Hub steering committee was formed. The vision being to incorporate the village pub, a restaurant and café, bed and breakfast, a shop, in due course the Post Office into one building.

November 2018

With strong support to keep the Bluebell as a local facility saw the property developers withdraw their planning application, this was when negotiations between the property developers and the Blue Bell Community Hub representatives started.

January 2019

The Blue Bell Community Hub Limited was incorporated as a Community Benefit Society, a not-for-profit organisation.

The Blue Bell Community Hub MeetingJanuary also saw our first public meeting where the plans were unveiled to the local community of how financing would be achieved through a combination of grants, private loans and donations, a village share offer scheme, fund raising activities, and a bank loan. £470,000 had to be raised to buy the pub from the current owners who had agreed the sale, and £167,000 for cash flow and to refurbish it ready for opening.

January 2019

Grant Awarded from the Plunkett Foundation

Plunkett Foundation

February 2019

Grant Awarded from the South Downs National Park Authority

South Downs National Park

February 2019

Grant Awarded from the Grange

May 2019

The Management Committee then launched The Blue Bell Community Hub Refurbishment Fund, the target being £160,000.

July2019

Grant Awarded from the Grange

July2019

Grant Awarded from Chichester District Council

Chichester District Council

Late July 2019

Phase one of the refurbishment of the Blue Bell started, the whole ground floor being completely gutted, disabled access toilets and ramps put in, the bar repositioned, new cellar built, new kitchen installed, the whole internal building redecorated and much more!

Blue Bell Community Hub Work In Progress

August 2019

Grant Awarded from Awards For All

National Lottery Community Fund

September 2019

Grant Awarded from Leader

Leader

Spring 2020

Will see phase two of the refurbishment of the Blue Bell, this will include

The Blue Bell Community Hub

To find out more about the Blue Bell Community Hub, how to invest, upcoming events and much more please click the button below.

Many thanks to all our corporate supporters