FOR THE COMMUNITY, BY THE COMMUNITY
The Villagers Pub
Here are details of our Pledge Letter with a Form to invest in The Villagers Public House.
What is it all about?
Who is organizing this?
A small group of local volunteers who feel passionate about re-opening the Pub for the benefit of the community.
The Community as a whole who successfully campaigned to “save our pub”, with its own website, Facebook page and general local awareness, with the BBC broadcasting our objectives on Inside Out (Southern) in September 2016.
How will it be done?
By establishing a Community Benefit Society, The Villagers Pub Association Ltd.
By funding from grants, loans, donations and a community share offer.
With assistance from the Plunkett Foundation, a specialist body who have assisted other communities.
What stage is it at?
The Villagers Inn was registered as an Asset of Community Value in April 2013.
A Community Intention to provide a Conditional Offer to purchase The Villagers Inn to be lodged with the Estate Agent (Fleurets).
The moratorium period allowed the community to submit a bid, which expired on the 24 May 2016 and the property remains unsold.
A sale price of £575,000 + VAT was advertised in November 2015 by Fleurets, who act for The Wellington Pub Group.
Requests from the Steering Group to gain access to the property have so far been unsuccessful.
The Plunkett Foundation under their Community Pub Business Support Programme has accepted an application for a Bursary Award of £2500.
We have also raised over £21,000 from Crowd Funding and contributions from The Blackheath Village Society to cover all planning, architects and surveys required.
The Community Benefit Society has been registered under the CCBSA (Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act) 2014. The Society’s registered number is 7373 and the Financial Conduct Authority provided The Certificate of Registration on 2 August 2016.
A business plan has been completed to set out how the Pub can be profitable and meet the needs of the community. The most viable plan from both a financial and a planning standpoint would be to redevelop the site, so that it will comprise a pub that is reduced in size together with two cottages.
Research any grants, loans and finance may be available, both locally and nationally.
Once we are satisfied we can raise the necessary finance, we can make a formal offer (in the region of £250,000) on the basis we obtain planning permission, as advised by David Coffer Lyons who have completed a professional valuation on our behalf.
Launch a Share Offer.
We submit our “enabling development” planning application based on the response from Waverley Borough Council’s pre-application advice dated 27 July 2016.
How Can You Help?
We have formed a Society in which villagers can invest by buying shares. The primary objective of the company is to run The Villagers Inn for the benefit of the community, and in the longer term, if there is any surplus, to use this for the benefit of the wider community of Blackheath.
We have a tight timescale, and we are likely to need to raise at least £100,000 as Community Shares in order to buy the property.
These shares are specifically designed for use for community benefit purposes and are not freely transferable on the open market like other company shares.
We anticipate that the balance will be available as grants and other long-term public loans provided by Cooperative and Community Finance, who support small community led enterprises and only lend to those who practice the principles of co-operation, social ownership and sustainable development.
A further amount will be required as loans, to carry out any necessary building & refurbishment works, as we recognised the extent of the works involved in converting the property.
As part of the grant applications, we need to establish how much the community is willing to invest, and whether there is a genuine willingness in the village to contribute sufficient funds to make the project work.
The more people who are able to contribute financially, however small, the wider the section of the community that is involved in our project, the greater the likelihood of success.
We are not yet at the stage where we can launch a formal share offer so at present we are asking for the attached Pledge Forms to be completed to help us judge the level of support.
How will the Share Issue work?
Anyone who invests the minimum of £250 (i.e. Five shares valued at £50 each) will have a vote and therefore a say in the affairs of the business at General Meetings.
It is the intention that there will be a committee of members to oversee the day-to-day running of the business.
We will welcome bigger share holdings (legal maximum is £100,000) but the business will operate strictly on a one member, one vote basis, regardless of how many shares you hold.
We will not be applying to enter either the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR), as the risk to investors is minimum and HMRC would not accept our application.
To give the business a chance to establish itself we will need to agree an initial period of three years, during which time the buying back of shares at face value will be restricted, but thereafter the expectation is that there may be profits to fund withdrawals within parameters agreed by the members. When the business is in profit, the Society aims to pay interest on the shares at a rate to be recommended by the management committee and voted on at the AGM.
Is there an alternative to Shares?
You could make a short-term loan to the Society. Any short-term loans will be repaid from the sale of the 2 cottages plus interest of 2.5% over Bank of England base rate after 3 years
Please contact us directly by phone or email if you would prefer to lend than invest in shares.
This is not just about buying a pub; it is about helping to sustain a community
However, it should be clearly understood that this venture is not designed to achieve a substantial financial gain.
This is about investing in the future of the community and ensuring that the community hub is run for the good of everyone
Therefore, it would be appreciated if you could please complete the attached form to indicate whether you feel able to contribute financially to this venture.