THE community of Burton-in-Lonsdale is rallying together in a bid to bring the village's last remaining pub into community ownership.

Once the owners of the Punch Bowl Inn on Low Street said they were looking to move, a group of villagers called two consultation meetings to see whether there would be any interest in forming a Community Benefit Society to buy the pub and surrounding land. An overwhelmingly positive response saw 130 attending the meetings and very quickly more than 200 villagers gave their support to go for it.

The pub, which has two bars, four guest rooms, and owner's apartment, 0.3 acres of land, and 'commands an elevated position with superb countryside views' is up for sale for around £315,000 with Fisher Hopper estate agents.

A spokesperson for the group behind the plans to set up a community benefit society, said: "The pub has gone up for sale and, because it is designated as an Asset of Community Value, the residents can apply first to buy it.

"The group is receiving step by step advice from Plunkett UK, the organisation which originally supported the Burton-in -Lonsdale Community Shop. Over the last 25 years, Plunkett UK has supported over 700 UK community-owned businesses with free, expert advice, training and funding.

"There is now a race to apply for a grant from the government’s Community Ownership Fund - which if successful, could result in up to 80 per cent of the funding needed. The grant application requires at least 20 per cent matched funding and - crucially - a business plan which is designed around the feedback from how the village wants to use this asset."

The spokesperson said the group was urging anyone interested to get in touch before time ran out and called on anyone who knew the village, whether they lived in the area, used to live in the village or was perhaps a visitor. Also any business - anyone or organisation that would like to have a share in a community run business. Contact

Almost exactly ten years ago, the pub was put on the market by its then owners Thwaites. Residents at the time managed to get the pub listed as an asset of community value and also looked at buying it for the community.

Burton-in-Lonsdale has a history of making a success of community-run enterprises - its village shop won an award for best rural retailer in the north-west in 2008 and was also a regional finalist several times in subsequent years.