5th April 2017
On 7th March 2016 we held a village meeting which unanimously gave the go ahead to form an organisation to save The Ploughshare. From this, Beeston Community Enterprises Ltd. was formed and work has been continuing ever since.
The support and effort of local people has made it possible to raise around £12000 in twelve months from fund raising events. This has meant we’ve been able to fund the website, insurance costs, publicity signs, printing, seed corn money for events and having a professional valuation carried out. The compliance regulations for the share offer were also funded from this money. We have a surplus running which we want to continue building on.
We have also raised £195,000 from grant funding and social enterprise loans. £180,000 of this could be used for the capital purchase of the Ploughshare. The other £15,000 can only be used for other purchase and start-up costs. We have recently been approached regarding a further £100,000 fund which we are investigating.
We have met with the owner and have discussed a number of offers he made to us during January 2017. None of these were financially viable for us as a community pub and also would have breached our community status rules which we have to operate under as a Community Enterprise.
The professional valuation for the pub as a freehold came in at £185,000 and in early March we offered this to the owner. To date he has refused the offer.
As most people are aware, the owner has applied for Planning Consent to change the Pub into a house and build a terrace of three cottages in the car park. We have produced a very robust case for objection to these plans again with massive support from local people and some professional advice which was donated to us. Towards the end of March Breckland Council advised the applicant that the planning was likely to be refused and gave him the option of withdrawing the planning application. On March 29th the application was withdrawn. This has established that the pub will not obtain change of use or planning development.
We still want to continue raising funds as it makes us less reliant on grant funding and social loans.
We would like to re-publicise the share offer. There are still generous tax allowances available of between 50% and 30% which means if you buy shares you will receive a sizable amount back after we start trading. All share funds are kept in a ring fenced bank account and in the event that we don’t buy the pub you get 100% of your money back.
Once again, we would like to thank all those who have supported with blood, sweat, tears and financial contributions.
We remain positive that by continuing to work towards our goal of Buying and Re-opening the Ploughshare we can achieve it.