Village Meeting 7.30pm 22nd July
In Village Hall
We have heard back from the Plunkett Foundation, we have designed and distributed a survey hopefully to every house in the Parishes of Aldbrough and Stanwick and Carlton. If we have missed you or you want another copy of the survey, there are additional ones in the Church in Aldbrough. Please leave completed copies in the box at the rear of the Church by Friday 19th July.
At the open meeting we hope to give you feed back from the survey and tell you how we intend to proceed. Martin Booth from Plunkett will be there and will answer questions. If the local response is positive then we hope to go ahead and apply for additional funding from Plunkett, form a Community Benefit Society (CBS), arrange the Valuation and start raising money.
At the meeting we shall be looking for people to form the management board for the CBS. We want a broad spectrum of individuals, so please if you are unable to attend but would like to volunteer, give your name to Colin Sutherland, Bernie Whitfield or Paul Landray. Alternatively turn up and volunteer on the night.
COMMUNITY PUB PROJECT – THE STANWICK, ALDBROUGH ST JOHN
VILLAGE HALL – ALDBROUGH ST JOHN
Wednesday 17thApril 2019
Chris Dickinson, Bernie Whitfield, Roman Pronyszyn, David Bigford, Dan Turner, Peter Montgomery, Janet Hall, Nigel Hall, Colin Sutherland, Malcolm Clark, Paul Landray, Harry Reah, Paul Tait, John Gill, Tim Page, Chris Mooney, Tim Shone, Kay Pearson
1. Report from Bernie Whitfield and Matthew Lamb.
2. Update from the Plunkett Foundation (from Bernie Whitfield).
Following the meeting with Mr Todd it was established that Mr Todd had every intention of selling The Stanwick as a fully operational pub / restaurant and would like to dispose of it as soon as possible. The asking price was established as being £550,000 and is up for sale with Knightsbridge. It was agreed that should Mr Todd receive an offer he would contact Bernie Whitfield and let him know.
It was felt that any proposed buyer could be invited to do a presentation outlining their intention.
Possible. They do not like CIC’s (Community Interest Companies) but prefer Community Benefit Societies (allowing a return to investors). However to be considered there are a lot of procedures to go through. Unfortunately their current “support a pub” scheme ended in March but a new scheme is due to be launched in June (the configuration is unknown at present). If decided to take this forward it was suggested that a steering group be formed (of 5 – 6). The application is quite onerous with extensive forms etc to complete etc. A community survey must also be undertaken to establish amount of commitment and a professional valuation of the property, including costs for refurbishment.
It was agreed at the meeting of the 11thMarch 2019 that a “comfort letter” be sent to Ian Todd explaining the position of the village and agreeing to withdraw any expression of interest should he receive a viable offer. A letter has been drafted by Chris Dickinson and it was agreed that the Clerk to the PC should arrange for it to be sent “on behalf of a community entity to be formed”.
Bernie Whitfield to inform Chris Dickinson when he receives further information from Plunkett’s regarding the community survey and what format it should take.
Bernie Whitfield to establish an approximate cost of a valuation – possibly Pinders of Milton Keynes who specialise in this type of work.
Bernie Whitfield is also going to investigate different business models for prospective tenants.
Next Meeting– to be confirmed by Chris Dickinson
The next meeting of the community pub project is to be held in the village hall at 7.30pm on Wed 17 Apr.
Issues to cover:
Report of meeting with Mr Todd (Bernie and Matthew)
Support from the Plunkett Foundation (Bernie)
Communications (Chris Braithwaite)
The meeting is open to the public.
UPDATE as at 5 Apr 19
COMMUNITY PUB PROJECT MEETING
Thursday 4thApril 2019 at 7.30 pm in Village Hall
Chris Dickinson, Roman Pronyszyn, Malcolm Clark, John Gill, Janet Hall, Nigel Hall, Colin Sutherland, Bernie Whitfield, Chris Braithwaite, Matthew Lamb, Becky Fenwick, Tim Fenwick, Kay Pearson
Following on from the 11thMarch 2019, a further meeting was arranged by Chris Dickinson, initially bringing together everyone who expressed an interest in volunteering to help with The Stanwick becoming a community asset, though the meeting was open for anyone to attend, as would all future meetings. It was confirmed that an expression of interest had been lodged subject to the ability to withdraw that interest within the six month moratorium should the owner receive an acceptable offer.
Bernie Whitfield, whose background is in finance, has researched the different structures available to the village; charity, community interest company, industrial and provident societies. He has also looked into various avenues of revenue. Matthew Lamb, background property, highlighted the importance of getting a realistic overview of the costs that would be involved. As it stands at present, the Stanwick is shut (not a going concern) with no business plan and limited accounts available. A full valuation and structural survey would be needed to establish all costs.
At this stage, to take things forward, it was proposed that:
1. Matthew Lamb and Bernie Whitfield would arrange a meeting with Mr Todd within the next few days (Mr Todd has indicated that he would be prepared to meet).
2. Chris Braithwaite to make information available through social media to maintain interest in the project.
3. Bernie Whitfield to approach the Plunkett Foundation.
A further meeting is planned to take place next week. Details to be posted.
Update as of 27th March 2019:
Letter from Richmondshire District Council dated 19th March 2019
The letter acknowledges the Aldbrough Parish Council's notification of intention to bid for the Stanwick and that there is now a 6 month moratorium period which lapses on the 8th July 2019 after which the owner will be free to dispose of the property.
Please click on the link to the letter to see the full details:
Update from John Gill as of 19 March 2019
The Parish Council contacted Richmondshire District Council as discussed at the Village Meeting of 11 Mar 19.
A formal reply is awaited but the indications are that:
A community interest group could be registered.
However for technical reasons withdrawal of the interest may not be possible.
While the advice from RDC is received it is considered advisable to start to put together a team to make a bid on behalf of the community. Instructions for those who are interested in volunteering their services will be published in the next few days; please visit this site for further information.
ALDBROUGH ST JOHN VILLAGE MEETING
VILLAGE HALL – ALDBROUGH ST JOHN
Monday 11thMarch 2019 at 7.30 p.m.
ASSET OF COMMUNITY VALUE – THE STANWICK, ALDBROUGH ST JOHN
Cllr J Gill, Cllr T Fenwick, Cllr K Connolly, Cllr Stuart Reed and Cllr P Cullen (District Councillor – Hipswell), Kay Pearson (Clerk) plus approximately 100+ members of the public.
Cllr Gill opened the meeting at 7.30 pm and explained the reason for calling the meeting. Aldbrough St John Parish Council received a letter on the 8thFebruary 2019 from Richmondshire District Council stating that they had received notification from the owner of the above asset confirming that it was for sale and it was their intention to dispose of it. Community groups now had a window of opportunity to register their interest in being treated as a potential bidder for the purchase of the property. This period is for six weeks only and ends on the 18thMarch 2019. Should any community organisation wish to bid for the property then upon receipt of their position they would enter into a six month moratorium during which the owner could not sell to anyone except the bidding community group. Once the moratorium ends then the owner would be free to sell the property to any party.
Cllr Gill then introduced Cllr Cullen, District Councillor for Hipswell, who was also involved in the purchase of the George and Dragon, Hudswell as a community asset. Cllr Cullen then gave a brief overview of how it worked.
George and Dragon, Hudswell
The George and Dragon is a small public house and the population of Hudswell is also fairly small, approximately 300. Back in 2008 it was privately owned when it closed its doors. Making the pub a community asset was discussed and Martin Booth (local resident) said he thought they should give it a go. A working group was initially formed when three options were open to them; rent it, buy it or do nothing and lose it. The owners of the pub were contacted and a purchase figure of £209,950 was agreed. The money now had to be raised. This was done by asking initially for pledges and then selling shares – minimum £500 a share, maximum £5,000. 3% dividend paid out to all shareholders. Once the pub was bought and refurbished, tenants were interviewed and appointed, paying rent. The model works; it is a community pub enjoyed by everyone and incorporates a small shop. Surplus is reinvested into the pub.
Cllr Gill then opened the meeting for questions:-
Q: When initially setting up the pub did they have tenants?
A: No. The tenancy was advertised and interviews took place.
Q: Before embarking on considering a community asset – it would be helpful if it was known what The Stanwick was being sold for, as no one seemed aware of the asking price. Figures of £650,000 - £750,000 were mentioned, but nothing confirmed.
A: An independent valuation would be required – costing approximately £1,500.
Q: Did they receive any funds from charitable sources?
A: No – but they did get a lot of help from the Plunkett Foundation (the Plunkett Foundation helps rural communities in the UK to take control of issues affecting them through community ownership). Advertising very important. Yorkshire Post and Tyne Tees TV.
Q: Once the pub was established – how much input from the community was needed?
A: Not a lot. Tenant takes over the running of the establishment. Business Plan agreed from the beginning, i.e., what the community expects from the pub.
Q: Funding? Any grants?
A: Small grants are available. For example, they received a grant towards the kitchen equipment.
NOTE: At this point a member of the public pointed out that it has been announced that later in the year £2.2 million pounds is to become available for community run pubs.
Q: Who is responsible for the repairs?
A: The building is owned by the Community Association. The Tenant is responsible for wear and tear of the internal fittings. If there were repairs needed to the roof (for example) then this would be covered by the Community Association (surplus). Alterations are still taking place – the pub has just had a disabled toilet built.
NOTE: Mr Bernie Whitfield asked if a business plan had been made. At this stage no business plan had been undertaken. Mr Whitfield said he had worked as a Commercial Finance Officer for many years, dealing with this type of business regularly. He offered to put a business plan in place and would be happy to help where he could free of charge. He also mentioned that dilapidation and the state of the building would have to be taken into account but would have a look. He said it was complicated by the fact that The Stanwick wasn’t just a pub but had a restaurant and accommodation.
Q: If an expression of interest was submitted – what would happen next?
A: A six month moratorium would be entered into where the owner would be unable to sell to anyone except the bidding community group.
Q: And at the end of the six months?
A: The owner would be free to sell, but any restrictions for planning would remain in place. An example being, The Travellers Rest at Skeeby which closed in 2008. Owner wanted to convert to residential dwelling but application was turned down. He appealed but it was dismissed. The building is still empty. This is a worrying scenario.
Cllr Cullen stated that this was another reason why they made the George and Dragon a community asset as they did not want it to become de-licensed.
It was suggested from the public that everyone present at tonight’s meeting sign an attendance sheet, stating whether or not they may be willing to participate or be involved in the formation of a committee. It was decided that sheets of paper would be available at the end of the meeting for anyone to sign if they were interested at this stage.
The owner of The Stanwick, who was present at the meeting, stated that it was being marketed as a public house and he had no intention of selling it other than as a public house. He has had quite a lot of interest and has someone returning tomorrow (Wednesday 12thMarch) for a second viewing. He also stated that he had accepted an offer from a party late last year who wanted to take over in January, but because of the Community Asset Application which was filed by CAMRA in December, the interested party were not prepared to wait for six months and withdrew their offer.
Q: If the Parish Council submitted an expression of interest – could they withdraw it at anytime during the six months, for example, if the owner received a serious offer from a party wanting to proceed with the purchase, could the community asset be withdrawn.
A: It was decided that this was an important point to establish before submitting an expression of interest.
It was agreed that open channels of dialogue must be maintained with the owner of The Stanwick so both parties were clear about their intentions. Should the owner receive a serious offer for The Stanwick then the Parish Council would withdraw their expression of interest, however before this can take place it must be established with Mark Robson, Community Development Manager at Richmondshire District Council that this was possible.
Communication – keeping everyone up to date with proceedings. Updates will be posted on the Village Hall website (www.aldbroughstjohn.co.uk/aldbrough-village-hall), on the notice board and through the Parish News.
It was proposed that the Parish Council would declare an expression of interest in The Stanwick on behalf of the community subject to the ability to withdraw that interest within the six month moratorium.
This proposal was accepted by all present at the meeting. There were no objections.
The Parish Council will immediately ascertain from Richmondshire District Council whether an expression of interest to buy a community asset may be withdrawn at any time and its effect on the moratorium immediately nullified.
In the event of confirmation of this the Parish Council will:-
1.Express on behalf of a group to be nominated, an interest in purchasing the Stanwick to retain it as the village pub.
2.Write to Mr Todd wishing him well in his efforts to find a purchaser of the Stanwick as a public house, confirming that the expression of interest would immediately be withdrawn to allow a sale with that safeguard to take place.
It was indicated that if the advice was to the contrary the Parish Council would give notice of the fact and immediately undertake further consultations.
Cllr Gill thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.