VILLAGERS in and near Drayton are planning to save their local pub by buying it after the brewery put it on the market.

They are trying to sell 1,000 shares at £350 each so they can buy the freehold of the Drayton Arms and carry out necessary renovations.

They would then rent it out to a tenant on the pledge that there would be no unrealistic rent increases.

The share price would not change, but ‘dividends’ would rise from 3% in the first year to 5% after ten years under a business plan.

Current owners Admiral Taverns are advertising the freehold for £295,000.

A spokesman for the villagers said: “The principal aim is to acquire the freehold to ensure that the Drayton Arms once again becomes a social hub for the village and surrounding area.”

Around 150 people attended a public meeting to discuss the venture and a steering committee has been set up to oversee project.

As well as a well-stocked bar, there is room for bringing in more money through a better food offering, while a bed and breakfast business could also be run from the premises.

The spokesman said: “The intention is to buy the Drayton Arms as a community-owned pub through an arrangement known as an Industrial and Provident Society, making it a focal point for the village and creating a facility where the village and wider community can come together.

“The pub should be a place to meet, drink, eat, play or simply come for a chat, where everyone of any age is welcome and feels part of the community.”

He added: “Too many pubs are disappearing and a village that possesses this amenity both holds a centre for the community and value for property and life in the village.”