Public consultation work is starting ahead of a planning application which could lead to the creation of England’s first community-owned micro pub.
A group of volunteers have a long-standing ambition to create a community owned bar in Penistone, intended to offer an alternative to commercial pubs, offering an affordable meeting space for the town’s community groups as well as a bar as a social gathering point.
Premises on the High Street have now been identified and it is hoped a planning application will be put to Barnsley Council, asking planners to give approval for a change of use for the building which has been used as the Post Office and shop.
Under the plans, a Post Office counter would remain in the building, with the rest of the space taken over by Penistone Community Alehouse.
Those involved in the project believe it would bring multiple benefits to the town, by safeguarding the future of the Post Office and creating jobs as well as providing new facilities.
Ahead of submitting the planning application, several consultation sessions are to take place, to assess feedback from residents.
If that is positive, it is hoped to raise funds for the scheme through a community share offer, which would be launched in early 2019.
The premises may be trading by the Spring.
Project spokesman Marc Cooling said: “The community alehouse has been really well received across the board.
“We’ve had a number of community meetings and have had presence at events such as Penistone Gala, Penistone Agricultural Show and the Tour de Yorkshire. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Now we need to hear the opinions of others in the community and are inviting them to fill in the consultation document and share their views. Residents can also come along to one of three consultation events in the town. It’s really important we ask the whole community so we get an impartial view, and we have partnered with a Penistone-based market research company, to help us with this.
“The alehouse will be run as a Community Benefit Society, which means the profits we make are reinvested directly back into Penistone. It will support the Penistone community, bring the community together and address social isolation.
“It will be a very different kind of pub - one that’s owned by the community for the benefit of the community. The Post Office location means we’re protecting the future of the Post Office in its present location and regenerating the old GT News premises. We’re determined that the alehouse will be a much loved community asset and something we can be very proud of.”
Consultations start on Tuesday October 30, from 6pm to 8pm at Penistone Town Hall, with a session at Penistone Library, November 7 from 10am to noon and the following morning at Penistone market barn.