The Hop Pole: Bath villagers forced to scrounge for building materials to try and save historic pub

  • Victoria Davies speaks to some of the villagers fighting to save the historic pub.

Villagers in Bath are scrounging for building materials to try and save their local pub.

The Hop Pole in Limpley Stoke was bought by the community two years ago to save it from developers but they have struggled with rising building costs.

Now the community is asking people for building materials and to donate their skills, so the renovation of the 500-year-old pub can be completed and it can finally reopen.

Simon Coombe from Save The Hop Pole Campaign said: "We have set up what we call a scrounging team.

"They are phoning around building suppliers and anyone we know who might have something they can contribute, people who have got kitchens they can give us, stone they can give us, or even wire they can give us.

The Hop Pole in Limpley Stoke needs total renovation.

"It is all expensive and anything we can get is one step further to opening this historic building."

When villagers bought The Hop Pole in Limpley Stoke they thought they'd saved it. But the grade two listed building was in a poor condition and needed total renovation.

At the same time building and material costs rose sharply putting their finances under intense pressure.

James Sibson from Save The Hop Pole said: "We knew we were buying an old building and that would bring some challenges but we didn't realise how old it was and we didn't realise how flawed the work had been over the last 150 years.

"You make a hole and you find a problem. You make an opening in the wall you find a problem. The builders took two props out and the floor practically collapsed."

The Hop Pole has been at the heart of the village for 500 years.

Last autumn the community was told unless another £300,000 was raised the project would have to be abandoned.

The team behind the pub managed to raise just over half that amount mainly from people buying shares in The Hop Pole. But with a shortfall of more than a hundred thousand pounds, villagers are now resorting to scrounging for materials and asking for volunteers to help finish the build.James said: "We are asking huge companies to gift us a fraction of their weekly manufacturing production - things like toilets, plasterboard and building materials. We definitely want trades to help us too."

The community need building materials and volunteers to help re-open the pub.

Simon added: "We are absolutely after materials and skills in terms of the building work.

"But on the fundraising side you can still buy shares or contribute something we can auction off and help us get over the finishing line.

"If we lost this pub now we would never get it back. Our intention is to have a community pub which has been at the heart of this village for 500 years and will be at the heart for the next 500 years to come.