A society which owns a co-operative pub in Essex has purchased a nearby building to provide vital services to the local community.

The Red House, next door to the Maybush Inn, has been neglected for a number of years and is in need of full refurbishment. The Society's members decided to purchase Red House with a view to converting it into a much needed food establishment for Great Oakley and the surrounds. This will particularly benefit those who find it difficult to get a hot meal each day at a reasonable cost without leaving the village.

Plans include utilising the yard for parking to help alleviate the parking crisis in the centre of Great Oakley. The Society will also utilise the first floor accommodation for the benefit of villagers in the form of affordable lets that would be provided to those looking to downsize, but who do not want to leave the village, as well as young villagers looking to move onto the housing market at affordable rents within their community.

Society Chairman Mark Godfrey said: "The Red House acquisition provides the Society with a further asset to develop the services and facilities offered to our community. It ticks many boxes, helping sort the parking problems, providing an eatery for the village and the possibility of affordable lets for those wishing to remain in the village rather than move to other parts of the District.

The transformation we have already made to the Maybush Inn should allow the wider community to look forward with confidence to the day when Red House is restored to its former glories and becomes an attraction to the village once again".

The purchase was funded by a combination of bonds from members and other individuals and a mortgage provided by Co-operative and Community Finance. The funds raised from a community share offer will be used to fund the refurbishment and conversion together with the Society's retained earnings. 

Red House will be open for public viewing and for people to look at the proposed project during the nationwide Community Business weekend 7 -8 October from noon.