Local community form group to save local pub

The Swann in in Banton
Hannah Downey

Two and a half years after a group of local people concerned that their village’s only pub was to be demolished formed ‘P.U.B’ (People United for Banton), the group are having their first monthly progress meetings with the contractors and design team working to turn the village’s aspirations into reality.

Following Lottery support to purchase the premises in June 2018, as well as further Lottery grants for capital works and revenue costs, the Kelvin Valley & Falkirk LEADER programme also awarded P.U.B. a grant of £147,880. The past year has involved a lot of hard work planning, tendering and securing additional funds, after costs had risen significantly from the period of initial conception and going out to tender for the work. The Swan Inn needs a significant amount of investment in the building structure and general TLC to bring it back to a state where it is fit for purpose.

PUB’s spokeswoman Wendy Dunsmore said: “Over the last few years Banton lost its Post Office, shop, and its only bus service was threatened with removal. The closure of the village pub could have brought an end to the village completely. But we are a strong community and refused to let the village die. The community is hopeful that the PUB will turn around the fortunes of Banton and that it can begin to thrive once again. The whole community has come together to deliver this and we will all benefit. This will not only be a cafe, restaurant, shop and of course a pub, it will be a community hub providing Banton’s residents with a beating heart again.” Banton is a small rural village  of approximately 500 residents in North Lanarkshire near Kilsyth.

The villagers have all been very helpful and one local 16 year old boy has been taken on by the contractor as a labourer, with the potential to enter into an apprenticeship. The local community are eagerly anticipated the re-opening of the Swan Inn, scheduled for early 2020.