Lease Sold!

Lease Sold!

At our public meeting on the 4th August we mentioned rumors that the lease for the Black Horse was about to be sold, but we had no substantive evidence this was the case. Yesterday we were made aware of a removals van outside the pub and today we have a sign saying lease sold – so the rumors appear to have been true!

We have not yet made contact with the new tenants but are looking forward to meeting them and hearing their plans for the pub. We hope our efforts so far will help guide them in what services they provide and we will be on hand to help and advise as needed.

So what next? For now we are carrying on as normal, but will review the situation as we get more information. We will of course keep everyone updated via our blog, social media and newsletter at this exciting time.

A big thank you once again to everyone who has come with us on this journey so far – having raised £200,000 in pledges to date we’ve proved beyond doubt (to South Cambs District Council, as well as ourselves!) that we do not want to lose our pub. We have also really enjoyed getting together with so many of you over a pint or chatting at meetings or events.

**NOTE we will still be holding our pop-up pub on the 30th September 5-11pm in the Village Hall**

On the 30th we will also give a short update on what is happening and hopefully by this point we can start looking forward to getting together again for a pint at the Black Horse!

-The Black Horse Steering Group

We Have a Business Plan!

We Have a Business Plan!

Today we’ve published the first version of our business plan, which can be found on our PLEDGE page!

It’s been quite a while in the making as we have been putting all the pieces together, creating the financial models, consulting with our experts and writing it all up to our satisfaction. We believe it is now reflects our vision for the pub, and is ready for general release.

We’d also like to remind people that we are still taking pledges, and still need to get as close to our £250,000 target as we can. Hopefully anyone who was waiting to read the business plan before pledging now has all the information they need to make a decision.

As usual, if there are any questions about the business plan (or any aspect of our efforts) please drop us an email, or we’ll be very happy to chat at the pop-up-pub this weekend! – the Black Horse Steering Group will be attending the event and at least one of us should be around.

You can email us at the usual address:

Black Horse Beer, Bottle shop and Pop-Up Pub!

Black Horse Beer, Bottle shop and Pop-Up Pub!

This week we have news of our next bank holiday pop-up pub this weekend, in aid of saving the Black Horse, at Lord Conrad’s brewery, Saturday to Monday (26-28th August) inclusive from 2pm-10pm, including pop-up pizza on the Sunday and Monday.

This event will also include specially brewed Save the Black Horse ale! We’ve been informed this is a 3.5% ABV pale, slightly hazy beer with passion fruit notes at first followed by satisfying hoppy finish. But don’t just take our word for it, you can visit Lord Conrad’s bottle shop this week which is at the brewery and open from Tuesday the 22nd through Monday the 28th August from 11am-6pm where you can stock up on Save the Black Horse Ale along with other Lord Conrad’s favorites!

During the bottle shop and pop-up pub we will be selling Save the Black Horse tankards, in aid of saving the pub. Purchasing one of these fine pieces of merchandise will not only help us in our mission but also gain the buyer six tokens, each of which give 50 pence off the purchase of a pint at the pop-up pub!

Our graphics whizz kid Ed has produced this marvelous poster for the pop-up event (click the image to download a PDF version):

Members of the Black Horse Steering Group will be around during the pop-up pub and we hope to see many of you there – as usual we’d be delighted to chat and answer any questions.

A final note to remind people that we are still taking pledges, and still need to get as close to our £250,000 target as we can. For those waiting to read our business plan, we are nearly there now and hope to have this published in the next few days (watch this space).

Second Public Meeting

Second Public Meeting

On the Friday 4th August Dry Drayton Village Hall played host to our second public meeting as well as pop-up pub from Lord Conrad’s brewery and pop-up food from Nanna Mexico.

It was a busy evening and it was fantastic to see everyone enjoying the event and such great community engagement and support for saving the pub. We also had a guest speaker, Bernard Lee, from Pub is the Hub who shared some information about other saved pubs – and was very complimentary of our efforts!

Much like our first meeting, the Village Hall was full with standing room only and again the audience listened attentively to our update and there was a good Q&A session at the end. We believe we managed to answer all questions to everyone’s satisfaction, but as was said in the meeting we are always open to any questions so if you still want answers to any aspect of our effort please send an email to:

Following are some of the important points from meeting.


Our pledge-o-meter continues to be updated regularly and is still climbing! Although we have passed our August 1st deadline and have reached over 72% of our target we still need to achieve £250,000 of pledges so we are still taking pledges, and will continue to do so until we launch the formal share offer.

We produced a graph for the meeting showing the pledge amounts coming in over time – it shows that there has been consistent pledging throughout – and therefore if we continue to raise pledges at the same rate we should have £250,000 some time mid-end August.


After much effort, and input from our various experts and advisors our business plan is almost complete. We hope to publish this very soon, all going well. Within the plan we have tried to offer the most important services as identified by our community survey, but also be realistic in what we can do given there will need to be a relatively large sum spent just on bringing the pub back up to a good state of repair and refitting the (currently stripped out) fixtures and fittings such as the kitchen.


During the meeting we spent some time going over a little more technical detail of the formal share offer and how the shares work. A lot of this info can be found in the notes on the PLEDGE page, and the soon-to-be-published business plan has a section which explains the important bits of how the shares work in an easy to digest manner.

We will launch the formal share offer once we have:

  1. The published business plan (coming soon!)
  2. The SITR tax-relief scheme approved on the share offer (ongoing with HMRC)
  3. An offer in principle accepted by the owner of the Black Horse


An initial, formal offer for the freehold of the pub has been made to the agents based on our professional valuation (and copied to South Cambs District Council). Although the offer has been rejected, we will continue our dialog with the agent. We are also trying to contact the owners of the pub to try and engage them in honest dialog about our efforts, the valuation of the pub and if they were willing to come to a deal. It is still our intent to try and buy the freehold of the Black Horse and we have taken the first steps to do this well before the ACV moratorium ends on the 6th September so we are doing very well!

Even though this initial offer has been turned down it has provided very strong evidence (to the council) that the community want to keep the pub, and therefore makes it very unlikely that the council would grant change of use of the property.


Here’s anther slide from the meeting showing the key next steps we need to take to re-open the pub. Note that DDCE is “Dry Drayton Community Enterprises Ltd.” the Community Benefit Society we have set up to buy and run the Black Horse for the community.


Finally – thanks to all who attended, we’ll say it again that we are truly humbled by the support of the community and it’s always very rewarding to set up an event or meeting and see the community get together!

Also very sincere thanks to those who have pledged – without pledges we would not be in the strong position we are today, having already made an offer for the pub!

So thank you!


Public meeting and pop-ups

Public meeting and pop-ups

Public Meeting on Friday 4th August at 8pm to Save The Black Horse
Village Hall, Dry Drayton

At our second public meeting we will be giving you a progress update and explain what is going to happen next.  As you would expect the Black Horse Steering Group has been very busy. We have registered Dry Drayton Community Enterprises Ltd (Society registered No  7606) which will be the legal entity that will submit our offer for the Black Horse freehold on behalf of the community. More about this at the meeting. Pledges have been coming in fast and at the time of this post we are standing at £140,000 which is absolutely amazing.  So a big thank you to those who have already pledged. If you intend to pledge and haven’t done so then we urge you to go to our online pledge form where you will find notes and an easy form to complete.  We are very keen to get closer to our target of £250,000 by early August.  Alternatively, you can go to the pledge page on our website where you will be able to download a PDF version of the pledge form.

Pop-up pub and pop-up food on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th August
Outside Village Hall, Dry Drayton

On Friday 4th August from 6pm to 11pm Lord Conrad will be serving his special brews outside the village hall.  Lord Conrad’s pop-up will return to the village hall on Saturday 5th August and you will be able to enjoy a drink from 2pm to 11pm.  As you may know Lord Conrad’s micro brewery is located in the village at Dry Drayton industrial estate where many craft beers have been created since 2007. We even have a special Save the Black Horse brew being prepared.  Perhaps some of you tried his beers at the fun run on 4th July at the school.


We are pleased to announce that between 6pm and 9pm on Friday Nanna Mexico will be serving their delicious and authentic street food.

On Saturday 5th August from 6pm – 9pm we will be welcoming Azahar Spanish food van.  We recommend that you get there early on both days if you want food. These vans can sell out.


Black Horse History

Black Horse History

A quick post to say thanks to Rosemary Gardiner for providing an entertaining short history of the Black Horse which can be found on our now updated PUB HISTORY page, along with some photos of the pub from the local archive.

We certainly enjoyed reading it and hope you do too!

Survey results

Survey results

On 7 June the Black Horse Steering Group distributed survey forms to households in Dry Drayton, mentioning that we would be outside the village hall the next day to collect and answer questions. Some of you might remember our stand on the pavement outside the polling station.  We also had an online version of the survey running in parallel which many of you preferred to use instead.  We received over 230 responses which far exceeded our expectations.   So a big thank you to all who participated in this survey.

We have analysed the survey and obtained some very helpful information.  We would like now to take this opportunity to share some of these results with you.  Some of what follows was also shown at our public meeting in the School Hall on 6 July. For those who missed our first public meeting or would like to view again what was said then the videos can be viewed by clicking here.

We first asked, via a statement: “Many pubs in the UK have been lost over recent years. We should save the Black Horse.” The response to this statement was overwhelmingly positive at 95%.

We then asked the question: “The pub should be the hub where we can enjoy chance meetings, have a drink or a meal, meet up with friends or take the family or our visitors out. How important is it to have a pub in our village?”  There was a staggering 97% positive response.

Following this we wanted to find out what you really wanted from a pub, so we asked the question: “What would you want out of the Black Horse (tick top five choices)?”

Clearly the top thing you want out of the Black Horse is: “Home cooked traditional food at a good price”, with 210 ticking this box which represents 90% of you.  This is a very high score indeed. Following not too far behind were: “Quiet drink”, “Garden”, “Dinner with friends” and “Sunday lunch” all scoring above 50%.  Also scoring well were: “Cafe during day”, “Play area for families” and “Shop for daily essentials”

We also asked the question “When would you use the Black Horse?” We offered: “Evening pub”, “Lunch pub”, “Morning cafe” and “Afternoon cafe”.  For each of these four we asked you to select: “Yes”, “Maybe” or “No”.

What you want most is a pub that you can go to in the evening.  Also scoring high was a pub at lunch time.  Whilst there was interest in having a cafe at the Black Horse, the responses were mainly “Maybe”.

For the pub to be saved we needed to look at how this would be financed, so we asked the question “Would you consider financially supporting the project (shares and loans could be tax efficient) – tick all that you might consider”.

Most of you liked the idea of owning shares.  Many of you have already pledged to help save the Black Horse however, we still need more of you to help out.  Click here to go to our online pledge form.

The Black Horse Steering Group recognised early on that we would need to also get support from surrounding communities outside Dry Drayton.  So we asked the question: “Where do you live?”

As expected 62% of the responses were from Dry Drayton residents. We also got a high number of responses (25%) from our neighbours in Bar Hill.  In total we we received responses from 27 towns and villages around Dry Drayton.

Without doubt the message we received is that we must save the Black Horse as a pub for the community now and for future generations.

Pledges, Videos and News

Pledges, Videos and News

The dust has settled (a little!) after our public meeting on the 6th – and we are very pleased to announce that to date we have raised over £62,300 in pledges, 25% of our desired total already – and pledges keep steadily coming in! We have installed a ‘pledge-o-meter’ graphic on the website which we will make sure stays up to date so everyone can keep an eye on how we are doing (note for readers on mobile phones you need to scroll down to the end of the blog posts to see it – we’re working on fixing that).

A huge thank you to those who have pledged, and also to those who have given us lots of encouragement and support – and thanks once more to those who attended our public meeting on the 6th, we were truly humbled by the turnout and support.

We will be replying individually to those who have pledged – this may take a few days. We aim to have replied to everyone who has so-far pledged by the end of this weekend, so if you haven’t heard anything after that please get in touch.

We’ve had some good press coverage, the Cambridge News ran an article on our effort, and we have been contacted by Cambridge 105 radio. We seem to be on-theme as there has been press attention in the last week about community groups who are buying and successfully running their pubs – for example this great article in the Guardian. There was also a piece about community run pubs on BBC Look East.

Finally, the meeting on the 6th was recorded and has now been expertly edited, ready for your viewing pleasure – we hope this is useful for anyone who wants to go back over the material while they consider making a pledge, or for those who are new to what we are doing and want to get up to speed. The video is in three parts and can be found by clicking here

You can also find the videos on our PLEDGE information page.



A great big thank you to everyone who joined us at our public meeting tonight (the 6th July) – we had a big crowd, and it was standing room only for the last few through the door! We counted more than 120 people and were very happy to see such a large turnout.

People seemed eager to listen to what we have been up to, and what the next steps in the process are, and sat attentively for nearly an hour in the (rather hot and humid) school hall!

We had lots of very good questions from the audience and more good ideas and advice from people who stayed behind to chat to us afterwards. If anyone still has questions please drop us an email.

Most importantly of all we have now started taking pledges from potential investors, this is a (currently non-binding) pledge to buy shares in the Community Benefit Society which we are setting up to buy the pub. We need an accurate gauge of how much we could raise with a formal community share offer. Community shares are a way for the community to collectively own the pub and have it run for them.

If you would like to pledge you will find lots more information on our PLEDGE page – please take a look and think about pledging – the more pledges we get, and the more generous the pledges, the more likely we will be able to successfully buy and re-open the pub.

Thanks again for all who attended – we will have more pictures, video and also the presentation available online soon.



Pop-Up Pub and Other News

Pop-Up Pub and Other News

Our 4th July pop-up pub and BBQ on the school field was a great success! – 60 fun-run runners and plenty more locals attended the event and enjoyed great local ale, lager and cider -and drained every drop!

The pop-up pub was in aid of our cause, run by Lord Conrad’s (thanks to Jon as always for being such a great supporter) in association with Dry Drayton School and Village Association who also organised the fun run. Thanks to Scottie and the team for BBQing all evening!

We’ve also now had over 230 responses to our online survey, so thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill it in, this has given us invaluable feedback which will help us refine our plan for a re-opened, community owned Black Horse.

Finally, yet another reminder to come along to our public meeting at the school hall, 8pm on Thursday (the 6th) where we will give an update on our progress, the next steps and explain how community members can help out and/or become shareholders to raise money to buy and reopen the pub. We will have plenty of time to answer questions about what we are doing and look forward to seeing everyone there.