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Cardigan Arms: Public meeting discusses community buy-out

A public meeting to discuss a £350,000 community buy-out of popular Kirkstall Road pub The Cardigan Arms will be held later this month.

The grade II listed pub, which had its basement flooded when the River Aire broke its banks on Boxing Day 2015 and was subsequently looted, is one of Campaign for Real Ale’s top 200 heritage pubs in the country.

Campaigners hope to raise £350,000 by June to make the Cardigan Arms the first community-owned pub in Leeds.

They also hope the pub could become more of a community hub, with community groups, activities and classes held there.

One of the campaigners is Kirkstall resident Chris Hill, who said it was important people attended the public meeting to have a say on the future of the pub:

“I remember the time when it used to be a fantastic pub and it certainly has the potential to be so again. We hope taking it into community ownership will ensure its future.

“The idea is to make the pub more of a coffee place during the daytime, and a real ale pub in the evening. It’s got a great events room and offices upstairs which could be used by the community.

“Kirkstall isn’t well blessed with community facilities and it would certainly fill a gap.”

Mr Hill said the public meeting – which will be held in the pub on Wednesday, 18 January, at 7.30pm – will decide the priorities for the pub, as well as forming a formal committee to allow funding bids to be placed.

Campaigners say they have already had positive conversations with the Plunkett Foundation for £150,000 towards the scheme. The foundation supports communities to set up and run community co-operatives.

Mr Hill is also one of the people behind the recently formed Kirkstall Development Trust, which aims to develop a learning and leisure park over 200 acres in Kirkstall.

The Cardigan Arms is currently owned by pub company Greene King.

It is one of the oldest pubs in Leeds, with its origins in the 18th century, though the current building is largely as it was following a complete redevelopment of the building in 1890.

Buffalo Bill was rumoured to stay there while appearing in his Wild West Show on Cardigan Fields in 1904.



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