• Sidbury campaigners launch share offer in a bid to buy Red Lion pub

    20th April 2014 | News | Claire
  • To: Campaign Supporters

    It’s amazing to think that just under a year ago over 60 of us came together to launch a campaign to retain the Red Lion after its owner Punch Taverns had put it up for sale.

    Now 11 months later the campaign’s community benefit company Sidbury Community Enterprises has launched its community share offer to purchase the pub. The objective is to create a successful village pub that supports and encourages its local community.

    Please help us to achieve our share offer target. Retaining the Red Lion as a community asset will be to the benefit of Sidbury, its community and the wider Sid Valley economy.

    Please dig deep and support our share offer as much as you are able to.

    Sidbury Community Enterprises Launches Community Share Offer! £200,000 Share Offer Target

    Sidbury Community Enterprises has set a share offer target which it needs to hit within 5 weeks in order to purchase the Red Lion Inn, in picturesque Sidbury village in East Devon.

    If it achieves its target Sidbury Community Enterprises will be the first community owned pub within East Devon which under the 2012 Localism Act has been listed as an Asset of Community Value.

    Sidbury Community Enterprises has today launched a £200,000 community share offer that closes on 23 May, and has also published its community share offer prospectus http://sites.google.com/site/thepubinthevillage/SCELShareProspectus.pdf 

    Sidbury Community Enterprises is determined to give the Red Lion back its roar!

    Save The Red Lion Campaign has been campaigning for the past 11 months to ensure that the Red Lion is retained as it is the only remaining pub in Sidbury for the local community. To support this, last November the Campaign registered Sidbury Community Enterprises as a community benefit limited company which could purchase the Red Lion.

    Before Sidbury Community Enterprises felt confident enough to make an offer to purchase the pub it invested time, energy and some limited funds in creating a business plan that demonstrates that the Red Lion can be turned into a successful village pub.

    As part of its business planning process Sidbury Community Enterprises employed a property valuer, a building surveyor a quantity surveyor and an architect.

    This was to ensure that it knew what the realistic sale price really was, as well as identifying what work is required to be undertaken to upgrade and improve the property and the costs associated with these works.

    At the same time Sidbury Community Enterprises worked through with both a business adviser and pub trade professionals the potential income, expenditure and profitability of a future Red Lion business.

    Sidbury Community Enterprises also produced its vision for a future Red Lion which we produced and widely circulated in February (accessible at) http://sites.google.com/site/thepubinthevillage/Feb2014VisionStatement.doc.

    As a result of all of this work Sidbury Community Enterprises is confident that it has a sound business plan that will return the Red Lion to being a successful and much used village pub.

    The Red Lion will trade on quality beverages, food and accommodation. It will also introduce greater opportunities for customers to enjoy it, and we will introduce a cafe within the pub providing a much needed additional local facility.

    Sidbury Community Enterprises’ Chair Fred Burnett, in launching the community share offer, said – “We have a vision that a future Red Lion business will be more than just a successful village pub. Since the outset of the campaign to retain the Red Lion the objective has been to retain it as a community asset.

    Our vision shows that we want the pub to be at the heart of the community. We want to support and work with local community groups and events. We also want to use the pub as a base from which new services can be provided to the community. Being a community centred pub is key to our ethos and future success”.

    The Red Lion’s owner Punch Taverns has agreed to sell the pub to Sidbury Community Enterprises freehold for £190,000, which is significantly below its asking price of £295,000.

    In order to afford to purchase the Red Lion, as well as to refurbish it and provide for the new business’s start up costs, Sidbury Community Enterprises will need to obtain a mortgage and raise funds through a community share offer.

    Sidbury Community Enterprises is in the process of obtaining a mortgage and so we are now turning our attention to raising the funds required from the community share offer. This share offer needs to raise at least £200,000.

    We say “at least” because if we do not manage to raise this full amount then it is highly unlikely that we will proceed with the purchase of the Red Lion.

    The total amount of funds required to purchase, refurbish and provide the start up costs have been set at a level which Sidbury Community Enterprises believes are the minimum required to realistically create a viable business. Hence the reason why we have set a minimum amount that we need to arise through the share offer.

    If the share offer exceeds its minimum target then Sidbury Community Enterprises will consider either reducing the size of its mortgage or increasing the refurbishment works that it can undertake.

    To promote the share offer Sidbury Community Enterprises is holding two open days in Sidbury Village Hall on Friday 25 April and Saturday 3 May.

    These will be opportunities for the local community and anyone interested in this community venture to find out more about the share offer, as well as an opportunity to better understand what Sidbury Community Enterprises intends to do with the Red Lion. We will have some initial illustrations of how we intend to alter parts of the pub’s interior.

    John Loudoun
    Company Secretary, Sidbury Community Enterprises