UK 'ghost town' village becomes first in Britain to buy its own library, shop and PUB

A village has become the first in Britain to buy its library, post office, shop, community centre and PUB to save them from closure in a bid to stop becoming a 'ghost town'. Dubbed the heart of the village, the Trawden Arms in Lancashire served locals for 126 years before it was put up for sale by its owners in March last year. Having opened in 1895, the boozer survived two world wars and countless recessions but it was the Covid-19 pandemic it fell victim to, and was unable to find a landlord willing to buy. Fearful the pub in Trawden would be bought by developers and turned into housing, residents began an application to have it listed as an asset of community value. With national lockdowns restricting the ability to meet face-to-face, villagers took to Zoom and Facebook groups to drum up interest for a possible takeover. Locals rallied round to raise £550,000 - mostly by the 400 residents having bought shares - with the sale completed last month. Adam Young, 38, and Jo Stafford, 35, have now been sworn in as the new tenants of the Trawden Arms. The purchase of the pub marks the fourth time the villagers have taken matters into their own hands. Volunteers already run the village store, the local library, which includes the post office, and the community centre, which are all run by the community trust. Community Trust chair Steven Wilcock, 67, who spearheaded the move, said: "Before all this happened, one pub had already closed which was devastating for a small village. "The centre and library building were on their last legs and there was no feeling of community spirit. "Now the whole village has rallied together and it's paid off! "We had to get a group of enthusiastic people together who had the knowledge of raising the funds. "Certainly how we raised funds for the library and the community centre over a long period of time gave us that experience to get the pub. "Community spirit has never been higher and all three buildings are busy all the time. "Others have said how the pandemic made them realise how important the pub was with meeting friends and just generally getting together, we were determined not to lose the character of the village. "But that aside, the pub is such a lifeline for those who live alone. "It's been here for christenings, birthdays, weddings and funerals over the years. "We're all looking forward to going down to our local pub but that isn't opening until the new year. "It has brought the community together and I'm so proud." The community centre was acquired in 2014 by locals after the borough council was about to close it down due to cuts. It is now staffed from a group of 120 volunteers working two-hour shifts. In 2018 the villagers saved its local library and local shop. The shop is supplied by local producers and staffed by volunteers, giving the villagers a stake in its success. Steven added: "When you think about it these type of businesses are sustainable where maybe private businesses aren't.

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