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Keystone lawyer saves a Fox and a Goose - and helps open West Yorkshire’s first co-op pub

Keystone Law has helped to save a historic Yorkshire pub – and create West Yorkshire’s first co-op pub at the same time.

Valerie Mitchell, a commercial property lawyer at Keystone who is based in West Yorkshire, advised a co-op of over 250 people in the purchase of the historic Fox and Goose pub in Hebden Bridge. The Pub, which dates back to medieval times, is at the heart of the local community, and the successful purchase saves the pub from closure.

The Fox and Goose had not lost any of its popularity, but it was under threat of closure due to the deteriorating health of the landlady and financial difficulties. Valerie heard about the plight of the local community to save the pub at a regional business ladies networking event in January 2013 and as a prominent member of the local business community she wanted to do everything she could to help.

The co-operative was formed by regulars, locals and pub enthusiasts from across the country, who clubbed together to purchase the pub through a share offering which raised a staggering £130,000. The money raised will also go towards a major refurbishment of the pub. The pub is now one of 25 co-operative pubs in the UK, which are harnessing local community spirit to fight back against the increasing number of rural pub closures.

Commenting on the successful purchase, Councillor Dave Young, a director of the Fox and Goose (Hebden Bridge) Ltd – the Society set up to buy and run the pub for the community – said:

“We did it! – This wonderful old pub which is both a well-loved social hub and an important piece of our local heritage is now saved for the community for posterity.

“I’d like to thank our solicitor Valerie Mitchell of Keystone Law for all her assistance in carrying out the preparatory work and conveyancing to ensure the purchase of the Fox went through smoothly and especially for the pro bono advice she gave us to enable us to reach the final stage."

Valerie Mitchell, Consultant Solicitor at Keystone Law, commented:

“I’m thrilled that the purchase of the Fox and Goose has completed and the local community can continue to enjoy this historic and popular pub. The publican industry in the UK is going through a challenging period of time with many pubs facing closure, but this group has demonstrated that it is possible to save local pubs by the community joining together to purchase and operate them. I wish the Society every success in the coming years.”

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