A community's hopes of buying a village pub have suffered a blow due to the announcement of the General Election.

People in and around Muker, in Swaledale, have raised £342,000 for the purchase of the Farmers Arms through a successful community share offer, but efforts to secure further funding have had a setback. 

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chairman of the Muker Community Benefit Society, said: “To raise the full amount needed to buy the Farmers Arms the society applied for a grant from the Government’s Community Ownership Fund in April, with a decision expected towards the end of May.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

"However, due to restrictions as to what the Government is allowed to do during a general election period, rather than receiving a decision we instead received the message ‘there will be no further Community Ownership Fund announcements at this time’."

With no guarantees about what might happen after the July 4 General Election, the society is now investigating alternative ways to raise the remaining funds, which could come from donations, loans, or a further community share offer.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Rishi Sunak with members of the Muker Community Pub group outside the Farmers Arms

"Despite the setback, after receiving over 470 applications for shares, some from as far afield as South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and the USA, we’re very much buoyed up by the tremendous support we’ve received," said Prof Sir Mike Richards.

"Through-out the process, the importance of the Farmers Arms to the community has become more and more apparent and we fully intend to find ways of raising the remaining funds to secure the pub for the community."

Anyone interested in supporting the community purchase of the Farmers Arms, which has previously been backed by Rishi Sunak in his role as Richmond MP, is urged to email mukercommunitypub@gmail.com