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  • Writer's pictureSave the Windmill Steering Group

A community campaign to save the Windmill Inn

For most villages a pub is a vital service; it is a meeting place, communication centre and an important lynchpin of village life. Much of the appeal of our village rests on its sense of community. The Windmill Inn was the last remaining pub in Necton. It was the reason many people moved here and remain here. When it first closed its doors earlier in 2023, Necton Parish Council completed a successful application to identify it as an asset of community value, thereby paving the way for a local community group to raise funds to save it and re-open it as a viable community owned pub.

A public meeting was convened on 24th August 2023 in the village hall and over 50 local residents turned out and wrote their name on the list of people wanting to be kept informed. Additional people have subsequently asked to be included. The list is growing!

At that public meeting a nucleus of volunteers joined together forming a steering group to get the project under way.

a group of residents, standing outside the Windmill Inn.
The steering group committed to saving the Windmill Inn at Necton.

The steering group had its first meeting on 30th August and adopted this mission statement:

“To transform the Necton Windmill Inn and Restaurant into a thriving, viable, sustainable and energy efficient business owned by shareholders and run for the benefit of the communities it serves. We will provide a place to meet, eat, drink and socialise in a venue that is welcoming to all ages offering a range of activities and events that will address loneliness and isolation especially for the elderly, disabled and young families in the community.”

The first step in saving the Windmill and transforming it into a community pub is to get evidence that the residents of the village actually want this to happen. The most efficient way of getting this data is through a community engagement program that starts with a questionnaire. This questionnaire was put together with the help of the Plunkett Foundation and was delivered to all houses in Necton. The full results of this questionnaire are available to read within a downloadable PDF document.

Survey results for web site
Download PDF • 488KB

In 94% of the 351 questionnaires returned, you thought it was important or very important to save the Windmill Inn. This represents about 700 adults and is a resounding level of support. The steering group ran three communication events in the village hall to share the results on 19 / 21 October 2023 and 95 people attended.

The steering group has joined the Plunkett Foundation. The next step is to set up a Community Benefit Society (CBS). The CBS can open a bank account and sell shares to raise the money to buy the Windmill. Also, the CBS can get matched funding (up to £250k) from the government.

A survey of the building has been commissioned to understand what repairs will be needed. A measured survey has also been arranged which will allow for designs to best support the additional services identified within the questionnaire. An independant valuation of the property is also required.

The steering group would like to thank the people who have donated money to help get this far:

  • A resident paid the fee for joining the Plunkett Foundation and to set up the CBS

  • A member of the steering group paid for the building survey

  • Members of the steering group paid for the printing of the questionnaire

  • Vattenfall paid for the hire of the hall and printing of the invitation to the communication events

The timescales are short in this process of bidding for a community asset, the Group are aiming to be in a position to make a viable bid by 24 January 2024.

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