A VILLAGE pub is to be given a new lease of life by a group of residents who clubbed together to save it.

The Queen Elizabeth pub in Elmley Castle has been given the second chance by the 23 villagers after they invested in a new company Elmley Castle Pubco Ltd, which has taken over the lease of the local landmark.

The group, which ranges from builders to businessmen, will appoint a manager to run the bar and restaurant and are undertaking some refurbishment work on the pub but hope to reopen as soon as possible.

But before they reopen the group are hoping to find out what local people want from the community enterprise.

Nick Ross, one of the 23, said: "At the moment we are doing market research and want to encourage people to take part. We can't be everything to everyone but if we can be what the majority of the villagers want us to be people will support it."

The project first began in April when a meeting was called to see if anyone was interested in taking on the pub as a community.

Mr Ross said: "We actually met in the pub. We knew the owners weren't going to renew the lease. It was a concern for the village. It was the last pub in the village and everybody felt it was important that we had that facility."

James Hickman, another of the 23, added: "We have found a way, using a government incentive scheme for new businesses, to take on the lease of the Queen Elizabeth, saving it as a valuable asset for the community. With many public houses closing all around us we needed to approach the whole thing differently.

"The most important aspect is that we are a group of villagers working together to preserve the amenity for us all to enjoy.

“We do have places left for another one or two investors if anyone else would like to join the project and we shall be asking local people with the experience or skills needed to redecorate and refurbish the building for their support."

For more information or to take have your say visit elmleycastle.com.