Deadline looms for community to bid for White Horse pub in Milford

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The Grade II listed White Horse pub in Milford

TIME is running out for a community to bid for a local pub that its owners want to sell off to developers.

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The Grade II listed White Horse in Milford has been shut for several months and freeholders Enterprise Inns, recently notified New Forest District Council of its intention to dispose of it with buyers already lined up.

However, the council listed it as an Asset of Community Value in 2016 following an application by the Campaign for Real Ale which gives community groups six weeks to express an interest in buying it – and the deadline is December 17th.

The Community Right to Bid was created in the Localism Act in September 2012, and is designed to give communities the opportunity and time to gather the finances and resources needed to take over the listed asset.

In practical terms this means communities can ‘stop-the clock’ on the sale of valuable local assets and amenities like post offices, village shops or community pubs, giving them time to put in a bid of their own and protect it for the wider benefits of the community.

While Enterprise Inns is not legally required to sell to an interested community group, it must consider any bid.

Until its closure earlier this year, the White Horse featured a main bar, side bar, and a restaurant with a conservatory at the back of the building, looking out onto a patio and substantial pub garden.

Other groups eligible to register as potential bidders include charities, community interest companies, companies limited by guarantee that are non-profit distributing or industrial or provident societies that are not-for-profit.

A spokesperson for Enterprise Inns told the A&T: “As part of our ongoing business, we do from time to time identify pubs that may no longer have a long-term future in our estate. After careful consideration, the decision has been made to sell the freehold of the White Horse, Milford.

“We don’t have any more information to provide on the buyers.”

If any eligible groups notify the council in writing of their interest in acquiring the property by 17th December this will prevent Enterprise Inns from selling the building to a non-community interest group before 5th May 2019.

Any groups that are interested in being considered as potential bidders should email Andrew.kinghorn@nfdc.gov.uk or write to Andrew Kinghorn, legal services manager, New Forest District Council, Appletree Court, Lyndhurst, SO43 7PA.

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