Baydon Parish Council
COMMUNITY PURCHASE OF THE RED LION, BAYDON
Wednesday 1st February 2017
AT 8.00PM IN THE BYPA HALL, MANOR LANE
In attendance: Councillors: Tamsin Witt (Chairman), John Cockcroft, Kevin Howell, Amy Bryan, Brian Billington; Parish Clerk (Charlotte Booth); 59 members of the public.
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Cllr Witt, as a resident of Fiveways will step out of the discussion for Agenda item 2 (minute item 3) on Planning.
3. MEETING CONDUCT
Cllr Witt explained to the meeting attendees the expected conduct during a meeting. She explained they were witnessing a public council meeting and would be invited to speak during item 6 on the agenda (item 7 on the minutes).
Cllr Witt did not take part in the discussion for this item.
a) Application: 17/00480/FUL
Location: 5 Fiveways, Baydon
Proposal: Single Storey Side Extension
Deadline: 24th February 2017
Comments: Cllrs Cockcroft and Billington are concerned with the proximity of the proposed property boundary with the parking spaces of nos. 3 & 4 Fiveways. David Verco, a Fiveways resident affected by this is in discussion with the owners of No. 5.
All Councillors agree,
Action: The Clerk will forward to comments to the Planning Department.
5. DECLARING THE RED LION AN ASSET OF COMMUNITY VALUE (ACV)
Cllr Howell proposes that the Red Lion is registered as an Asset of Community Value which provides a six month grace period to enable the community time to raise funds for purchase, although the current owner is under no obligation to sell to the committee. This was seconded by Cllr Cockcroft.
Action: The Clerk to complete the nomination form and submit as a matter of urgency.
6. OPTIONS FOR COMMUNITY PURCHASE
Each option has a series of sub-options.
a) The ‘Village Committee’ buys the pub outright (currently on the market for £385K, freehold). Cllr Howell provided a report on the Tally Ho pub, Hungerford Newton who purchased the pub as a community. They sold shares at £100 each, and whilst they had a few large-scale investors they have shareholders as far away as Wales. As of yet, the shareholders have received no return on their investment. Any profits are put back into the running of the business. The majority of the finances were raised by the sale of these shares and the rest was via a capital mortgage. They were unable to get a bank mortgage as three years of financial records were not available.
They have approximately 25 members of staff, some paid, some voluntary and they open 7 days a week. They do a lot of marketing, using Trip Advisor for the B & B and drink loyalty cards for the pub.
Since setting up as a Community Project the pub is used more by the local people, as they feel they have made an investment in it. One of the managers, Paula Woof, has offered to help in any way possible and will provide template documents.
It was generally agreed that this would be the preferable option for the village.
b) The current landlady rents/leases the pub to the ‘Village Committee’ for 3-5 years, but the Committee runs the pub. Julie Wyatt acknowledged this is not something that she was prepared to do, and therefore this was not discussed in the meeting.
c) The Parish Council purchases the pub with a loan. The Clerk presented a financial report, outlining the possibilities. Greenham Council are considering a Public Works Loan Board Loan for £100k repayable over 25 years and will have annual repayments in the region of £7000. If Baydon Parish Council were to borrow £400k then the repayment would potentially be £28k pa, £10k more than the annual precept.
As the budget has been set for 2017/2018 this would not be an option until 2018/2019, and as the precept would potentially treble a referendum would be advisable which also incurs a cost.
It was generally agreed that this would not be a viable option for the village.
7. SUSPENSION OF MEETING FOR PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
David Hanley a shareholder at the Tally Ho Pub attended the meeting and was able to answer some of the queries raised by residents. David Verco questioned whether there was any relief of business rates and Mr Hanley explained how at the Tally Ho for any amount up to £50k raised in shares received 50% tax relief, and between £50-£300k there was 30% tax break on shares. The general income was tax free.
Trevor Dominy asked Julie Wyatt what was included in her £385k price to which she responded all fixtures and fittings, all remaining stock and the freehold. David Hanley added that funds would need to be raised to purchase additional stock, and in particular to change the toilets in the Red Lion, as they are a disgrace. Ms. Wyatt added there was planning permission to rebuild the toilets. At the Tally Ho they raised £350k through shares and £50k capital mortgage.
Colin Newport questioned whether there had been complaints regarding planning from the immediate neighbours and the possible decrease in house prices should the pub close. Cllr Witt read out a note received from Rob and Hayley Butcher who commented that Julie Wyatt has been a quiet neighbour and they are happy for the pub to become a community venture if they remain courteous. They would rather the pub was turned into a residential building than become a take-away.
A discussion then ensued regarding different financing grants/options available. Suggestions included a co-operative scheme where shareholders are given a share of the profits, and should the business fail any profits would be passed to another co-operative scheme. David Hanley didn’t think this provided enough incentive for people to invest. A further suggestion was a government grant scheme, which currently has £320m available. Sarah Chidgey raised the question as to the true value of the pub and whether £385k was accurate.
Bernie Gribble added the further suggestion that after the community purchase a tenant could be placed into the pub to run it, and should it fail then they would be liable for debts. David Hanley believes this is why many such ventures don’t work. There has to be a level of community commitment. Cllr Witt suggested such discussions were for the committee to decide, and Cllr Howell explained how the Parish Council were not running the project, simply facilitating setting it up.
Jo Cooling raised the issue of parking at the pub, and suggested The Green could be turned into a landscaped carpark. This suggestion was not received well by the residents present.
8. SETTING UP A COMMUNITY PURCHASE COMMITTEE
a) Setting up a committee to manage the Community Purchase. Six people volunteered to be on the committee: Sarah Chidgey, David Handle, Colin Newbold, Liz Carmichael, Mike Whale, Tom Sprunt.
53 residents expressed an interest in investing in the purchase.
b) Cllr Howell agreed to sit on the Committee.
c) The members of the committee were asked to remain behind to organise the date of the first Committee Meeting.
The meeting was closed at 20:50.
Signed Tamsin Witt, Chair Date