York’s local community have proposed the idea to turn the Fox Pub in Holgate into a community pub.
The pub is currently owned by Punch Taverns, the UK’s leading pub company, who owns 4,500 pubs across the UK and announced in its annual report to consider the closure of half of their pubs within the next five years. Despite promising a quarter of a million pound refurbishment of The Fox, York’s neighbouring residents and pub-lovers remain concerned about its future.
Earlier this year, The Fox was closed temporarily, following the departure of the then landlord and due to the handover of operators. But Punch Tavern have stated that the pub isn’t closing and that they plan to invest £250,000 in the pub, aiming at its complete refurbishment and total upgrade within the following year.
Nevertheless, the local community are looking at running The Fox, known for its cask ale selection and fine lagers, as a community venture. Turning a privately-owned pub into a community pub is not an entirely new idea, inspired by The Golden Ball pub, York’s first co-operative pub in Bishopshill. When its former owners Linda and Dave Foster sought retirement in 2012, local and international investment made it possible to purchase the pub and turn it into a flourishing community pub.
Differently to The Golden Pub, however, the possible community-based Fox pub is not supposed to be a leasehold but a freehold purchase. This gives more options, with the chance for the building to have varied uses throughout the day. It is even debated to run the a post-office in the pub. The basic idea behind the pub’s transformation is the desire to build a hub for the local community.