A BUSINESSMAN has marshalled the support of his fellow village residents to take over the lease of his local pub.
And now Alan Hayes is calling on the patronage of all villagers to help make the venture a success.
Mr Hayes, who transformed Burley Grange into a business and learning centre, has been a regular at The Red Lion in Burley-in-Wharfedale since moving his business BSD and family to the village in 2009.
But he has witnessed what he calls "a serious deterioration" in the pub since it was sold by the Renton family in 2011, it's demise being hastened by the closing of the restaurant almost a year ago.
So he called on the help of fellow residents and also a member of the Renton family, Oli and his business partner Simon Miller, of La Casita, which has restaurants in Ilkley, Boston Spa and Horsforth, to take over the landmark village pub as 'landlords in possession' from Punch Taverns. They took on the six month lease from March 13.
Mr Hayes, 67, said: "The only way we can save the pub is with the enthusiastic support and patronage of the residents of Burley-in-Wharfedale. Since our tenancy started we have been astonished by the fantastic response we have had from regulars and returning customers. I reach out to all of the residents of Burley and ask you to use The Red Lion as often as you can. I would also like to hear from any residents interested in investing in the project."
He added: "Since 1840 The Lion has been the active social centre of our village and still provides meeting space for many local groups including the Scouts, U3A, local art and language classes, walking societies and yes, a ukulele class. I think most of you would agree that we should try our best to preserve this social amenity."
Mr Hayes has already installed a new kitchen and the pub will once again begin serving food at lunch and dinner from today (April 6). He has also ordered 15 new benches for the outside seating area for customers to enjoy.
"This is not a money making project, it is an attempt to save the best hostelry in the village and I would greatly appreciate your support," he added. "We have six months to prove to owners Punch Taverns that we can, as a group, operate a successful business and therefore provide justification for them to make our occupancy more permanent."
If you are interested in investing in the business Mr Hayes can be contacted on 0777 6290370 or by email at email@example.com