After a hastily arranged public meeting in the village hall to gauge support, we decided we had to ‘save the pub’ and buy it as a village asset. Fortunately, the Parish Council, with great foresight, had previously had the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value, which gave us more time and scope for manoeuvre in the fundraising and conveyancing process. A committee was formed, a survey sent out to all residents asking what they wanted from their village pub, a publicity campaign was launched, a Community Benefit Society formed, events organised, funds raised, grants applied for and what a result! In March 2017 we bought the pub! Which just goes to show what a small village community can achieve when it all pulls together.
Our aim was to make our traditional English country pub warm and welcoming to all, locals and visitors, a Free House with great beers, fine wines and delicious food sourced from local farms. We also wanted it to become a place for serving coffees and cakes, teas and snacks during the daytime in a café atmosphere. A perfect meeting place to just pop in and socialise with friends, family or just a chat with someone new. In addition, we wanted a book swap, internet café, Seniors’ Lunch Club, a Pie and a Pint club and we started a ‘ladies who lunch’ get together once a month to keep in touch with new friendsmade during the refurbishment. This aim was achieved as of August 2017 when we were finally ready to open, to great celebration, with honoured guests including the chairman of Shepherd Neame, our local MP and verysupportive MBC and KCC Councillors present. The icing on the cake was the CBS winning the 2017 CAMRA Pub Saving award for our campaign to buy the pub.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BECOME A SHAREHOLDER?
We still welcome investors as well as visitors to the pub, so if you’d like to become a shareholder and be a part of this exciting community project (you don’t have to live in the village!), we’d love you to get in touch with us for more information. Application forms are available at the pub or please use the contact us form below.
We are a community owned village pub and currently have in the region of 140 shareholders who have invested their time, money and effort in buying and refurbishing the Harrow.
How did it all come about?
In September 2016 Stockbury villagers were shocked to discover that the Shepherd Neame brewery had put our village pub ‘The Harrow’ up for sale. We are very fond of our old pub, a very attractive local landmark on the village green in the heart of the village. So, as we didn’t want to lose it, a group of us decided to act.
The Harrow has undergone a complete refurbishment, much of which was done by an army of volunteers (including some army volunteers!) over the Summer of 2017. During this time neighbours and villagers of all ages and from all over the parish brought their goodwill and skills to the pub (including tea making skills, very important!) and we all worked hard and long (mostly) enjoyable hours despite a few problems and mishaps along the way. Our very own (internationally renowned) village artist designed the new pub sign and the Four Seasons paintings.
Contact us to book a table for any occasion. Deposits will be required in the case of reservations over 8 people.