Campaigners are “delighted and excited” after they successfully reached a deal to buy a village pub at the heart of their community.

Plough Ahead has said it has successfully reached a deal to purchase The Plough Inn in Longparish, following their issuing of shares, which raised over £225,000 by selling shares for £10 each.

Longparish parish council also assisted the fundraising by unanimously approving an application for a £300,000 loan to help purchase the pub, and will become the legal owners under the plans, with Plough Ahead taking on the lease.

Plough Ahead said: “With many of us now working from home, and social distancing having become so much part of our lives, we are aware of the increased demand for local hospitality venues – pubs like the Cricketers and the Plough. The impact of Covid has shown that local communities are now much more aware of the value of their pubs and there is an increased desire to support them.

“So this is a fantastic opportunity for us to save, rebuild and help this lovely old pub flourish - alongside the Cricketers - in Longparish. By taking on this project we can restore a much-loved and extremely useful community asset for generations to come.”

Christian Dryden, Chair of Longparish Parish Council agrees it’s a very worthwhile project: “The Plough – like the Cricketers - is a well-known landmark in our village. We are delighted at the prospect of re-opening The Plough as a community pub and hub. Friends and supporters in the village and elsewhere have come together to raise funds, and the Parish Council is pleased to support this village project."

The Plough Inn opened in 1721, and was one of the village’s premier watering holes for much of that time. It closed in 2015, and was subsequently sold to a property developer. It survived plans to convert it into a residence in 2018 and 2019, with Plough Ahead forming in 2018 to buy the pub and turn it into a community hub.

While the exact purchase price has not been disclosed, the pub was listed for sale at £550,000 by Rightmove. The group plans to exchange contracts and complete the sale of the pub by Christmas, with refurbishment work to begin shortly after.

MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline Nokes, congratulated the group on Twitter, calling the deal “exciting news.”

She said it was “such a massive step forward in the campaign to save this beautiful old pub for the village.”

If all goes as planned, the group aim to have The Plough ready to open to the public once more by July 2021.

Community shares in the pub are still available to purchase until December 6 to continue to raise funds for the project, with more information available here.