Locals launch £300,000 bid to save historic Leeds pub

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A COMMUNITY group’s dream of saving a historic Leeds pub is set to take a step closer to reality tonight.

Not-for-profit community organisation The Cardigan Arms Communities Pub Ltd is set to launch a community share offer at the Kirkstall Road pub from 7pm tonight (Friday, April 7) as it bids to raise £300,000.

PIC: Tony Johnson

PIC: Tony Johnson

Campaigners want to buy the Cardigan Arms for community use after it was put on the market by current owners Greene King.

The pub is one of the UK’s top 250 heritage pubs and retains many of its original features.

Campaign group founder Jim Brettell, who had his first pint at the Cardigan Arms in 1975, said: “The Cardigan Arms is special because it’s pretty much the same now as when it was built in 1896.”

“We don’t want it gentrified and turned into a gastropub. We want it to stay an ordinary boozer. We want it here for future generations.”

More than 200 locals have joined the campaign and anyone wanting the chance to own part of the pub will need to make a minimum investment of £100.

Investors will become co-op members with voting rights and will get a 10 per cent discount at the bar.

The group are aiming to raise a total of £300,000 by the end of May.

Leeds company Mood Pubs pledging to match the community investment to deliver the £600,00 needed to buy and renovate the pub.

Campaigner Chris Hill, said: “The £300,000 sounds like a lot of money, and it is.

“However we’re hoping a lot of the money will come from the people we’re calling our Cardigan Angels – those putting in at least £5,000.

“They’ll get a return of four per cent, which makes it a decent investment opportunity. I know of at least twelve people already who are looking to do this.”

Jean Mellor, 76, of Kirkstall, Cardigan Arms regular of 34 years, said: “To see the pub returned to its former glory would be brilliant.

“I’d be much happier to see this stay as a pub for the community rather than being turned into flats.”

Cardigan Arms landlady India Honeyball, said: “All the original features are here. It’s absolutely beautiful.”