Community who want to restore popular former West Tilbury pub have offer rejected

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OWNERS of a former West Tilbury Grade II listed pub have rejected a bid from a local community group to purchase the property and restore the popular establishment to its former glory.

The King’s Head, located on The Green, has been the subject of a community campaign to raise enough money to buy the pub from a housing developer. After their offer of £300,000 was rejected, the property will on Monday go up for auction listed as an ex-pub with development potential. The asking price will be £550,000.

AMD Property Ltd, from Fobbing, had bought the property from pub chain Punch Taverns for £300,000 in May 2016 following the retirement of the pub’s former landlords. The community had wanted to buy it, but were given only four weeks to raise the funds to make a rival bid.

However, with the creation of the not-for-profit West Tilbury Community Pub Company Ltd, Thurrock Council approved the listing of the property as an Asset of Community Value, retaining it as a pub for the next five years. This led to the owners withdrawing their planning application to develop seven houses on the site.

Under the terms, the community were also the only party allowed to make a bid on the property up until this month, with a target set of £500,000 to buy and refurbish the pub, 30 per cent of which coming from public donations. The group are still in the process of raising this figure.

With the rejection of the offer, the owners are now free to sell to any prospective buyer. Any sale would also take the ACV off the property.

A spokesperson for WTCPC said: “Our offer was only marginally below what our valuation surveyor told us it was worth and we thought it was a fair offer considering all the work that will be needed to reopen it as pub 15 months after closure.

“But we’re not giving up and if a new developer were to buy the property then we would apply for another ACV. As it’s already been served an ACV I wouldn’t imagine there’d be any problem in reissuing it.

“If someone buys the property at auction for the price the owners want then the new owners would be left with a very expensive property that they probably cannot develop or do anything with. We urge anyone considering buying The King’s Head at auction to think carefully before bidding, but we would welcome any buyer re-opening it as a pub.”

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