Campaigners fighting to save a popular south Bristol pub say the six-figure sum pledged by the community is proof of the level of support for it.
An ambitious bid to raise the £300,000 needed to buy The Windmill and prevent it being turned into flats has fallen short of its target.
But campaigners who spearheaded the effort to buy the pub through a community share offer say the £170,480 pledged by 428 investors is proof that people in the city believe it has a future – and they are now working to encourage a brewery to take on the premises.
They said they were amazed at the “incredible” show of support from so many in the neighbourhood.
“We are extremely proud of our campaign and the fact that the community rallied behind us in such large numbers,” said a statement from the Save The Windmill Campaign Group.
“The reality is that the current economic climate is just too uncertain for many people and what might have been possible a year ago is now a victim of the pandemic.
“As a campaign group, we are not giving up and will now work to try and encourage a brewery to purchase the pub as what we have achieved is a demonstration of the community support for this pub – and shown that it could be a successful business with 428 investors ready to be the first customers through its doors.
“So you can congratulate yourselves on collectively presenting that potential to potential landlords, you have put the pub in the best position possible to remain a pub.
“This is a wonderful community and we have been humbled by the support you have shown. Thank you for having faith in The Windmill.”
The pub ceased trading in March and plans to convert the premises into five flats were refused by Bristol City Council in April. A revised application was submitted in July.
Owner Mike Cranney has been supportive of proposals to keep the building operating as a pub – if a buyer can be found.
Campaigners say money is due to be returned to investors within the next ten days, and they remain hopeful of seeing supporters back in the pub once more.
All photos by Ellie Pipe