Fox and Goose is officially a community asset

Fox Friends members at the public meeting at the Fox and Goose, Hebden Bridge
Fox Friends members at the public meeting at the Fox and Goose, Hebden Bridge

Calderdale Council is the toast of the Fox and Goose after agreeing to list the Hebden Bridge pub as a community asset.

This is a major step forward for campaigners trying to save the pub, as it means that the community has to be given first chance to bid for it, before anyone else can move in and buy the property for a different use.

A share offer is being launched on Wednesday, May 1, to raise money to buy the Fox and Goose, in Heptonstall Road, and turn it into West Yorkshire’s first Co-operative pub.

When the council lists a property as an Asset of Community Value there is legally a “community right to bid”, which means the owners have to give local people six months to raise the money to buy it before they can sell it for any other purpose.

Calder ward councillor Dave Young, who chairs the steering group which submitted the application on behalf of the Fox Friends community group, said: “It’s wonderful news that we have been able to get the community value of the Fox and Goose officially recognised. The community asset listing comes just at the right time, as it gives additional protection to the pub while we are working to raise the money and move towards a purchase over the coming weeks.”

A public meeting will be held in the pub on Saturday, April 27, at 1pm, to launch the share offer.

The Fox and Goose is only the second premises to be registered by Calderdale Council under the new Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012 which only came into force last September.

The only other listing made so far is the Holywell Inn in Holywell Green, near Halifax – so the Fox and Goose is the Upper Calder Valley’s first community asset.

To qualify for the listing, the Fox Friends had to show that the pub benefits the ‘social wellbeing’ of the local community. The council said it fitted the bill because it was used by numerous groups and clubs including walkers, fell runners, cyclists, real ale enthusiasts, a bridge club, environmental groups and a history society and it runs a range of activities for the community such as music nights, quizzes and beer festivals.

The council’s recommendation to approve the listing noted that the pub was steeped in history and dated back to an alehouse on the site in the 1330s. It heard that the campaign to save the pub had around 100 supporters and was backed by co-operative and community organisations like the Plunkett Foundation, Co-operatives UK, the Co-operative Enterprise Hub, Halifax and Calderdale CAMRA, South Pennine Prospects and Wild Rose Heritage and Arts.

Hebden Royd Town Council also said it was “in full support of the application”.