A COMMUNITY has pulled together to save their pub – in just 14 weeks.

Villagers in Halse, near Taunton, completed the first stage of buying The New Inn this week.

Almost £330,000 was pledged by residents to renovate and purchase the former 18th century coaching inn.

Mike Davis, vice chairman of Halse and District Community Benefit Society, said: “When we first heard the pub was under threat at the end of May it soon became clear there was a real desire for the village to come together and do something.

“This exciting project could not have got off the ground and progressed so quickly without the support of the community.

“More than 20 people are now working on different elements of the project and we currently have 150 shareholders. A share in the pub costs from £100 to buy.

“It was vital for us to get this project properly and adequately financed to allow us to renovate The New Inn properly and to have been able to set aside proper funds to allow us to do this over the next few weeks and months.”

The deal, including surveying villager’s views, organising cash pledges, appointing pub managers and planning renovations, was completed in just 14 weeks.

The formal opening of the pub is set for Sunday, October 11. Yet the refurbishment of the skittle alley will be carried out in March next year.

The pub, which has been called the New Inn since 1788, closed last weekend for five weeks for extensive refurbishments, heating, electrical, kitchen and cellar work plus redecoration of the bar.

A temporary road closure on Halse Road will start on October 5 and last until October 31 to allow for roof repairs, and gas and water connections to be carried out.

The ownership scheme includes applications for grants to complete the refurbishment.

Somerset County Gazette: Jake Wilde and Ellie Wakeman- new management team at the New Inn on the day the pub contracts were exchanged Jake Wilde and Ellie Wakeman- new management team at the New Inn on the day the pub contracts were exchanged

Ellie Wakeman and Jake Wilde will take over as the management team.

Jake said: “We are looking forward to serving the local community and visitors to the area.

“We will have a menu that caters for a wide range of tastes, making sure we provide exceptional value and a great experience with a good selection of wines, beers and non-alcoholic options.”

For alternative routes during the road closure, visit www.one.network.