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.
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
A sad time for the locals that used the Bluebell as the pub closed its doors for the last time.
The new owners apply for Change of Use to turn the Bluebell into two dwellings. The planning application received over fifty objections.
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.
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.
The Blue Bell Community Hub Limited was incorporated as a Community Benefit Society, a not-for-profit organisation.
January 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.
Wednesday May 1 2019
The Management Committee then launched The Blue Bell Community Hub Refurbishment Fund, the target being £160,000.
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!
Grant Awarded from Awards For All
Grant Awarded from Leader
December 13 2019
March 20 2020
After just 99 days of being open the Blue Bell at Cocking temporarily closes due to the Government lockdown.
Will see the start of phase two of the refurbishment of the Blue Bell.