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By Haddenham Webteam - 18th December 2018 4:30pm
Following the creation of 'The Green Phoenix' (a Community Interest Company) in November 2018, with the intention of seeking to acquire the Green Dragon in Haddenham on behalf of the local community, the core team has issued the following update on Tuesday 18th December.
We wanted to let you know we have had a fantastic response from the community regarding buying the Green Dragon. We now have over 150 people signed up as supporters with a significant proportion expressing an interest in investing.
This email has details on the pub proposition, some financials and further information on us as a group.
Please note that there will be a public meeting on Thursday 10th January at 8.00pm in the Walter Rose Room of Haddenham Village Hall where we can give more details and answer any questions which you may have.
Who on earth are we?
We are a group of friends who have met through having children at the junior and infant schools and some of us also play five a side football together. After football, we generally go for a beer and discussions often turn to our frustration with the erratic management of the Green Dragon and our sense that it could be a fantastic place to take our families out for a decent affordable meal, a good pint and a nice glass of wine.
So, when the building was put up for sale, we decided that we wanted to do something to see it preserved as a pub that caters for the whole community.
Jamie Hall — High St
Nick Leale — Churchway
Jon Proctor — Churchway
Paul Dixon — Platers Road
Chris Martin — Fern Lane
Alex Giles — Platers Road
Gareth Cheeseman — High Street, Thame
Johnny Payne — Thame Road
Alex Wagstaff — Churchway
What have we done so far?
We have formed a company called "The Green Phoenix Public House Community Interest Company".
A community interest company is a business whose primary objective is for social purposes and whose financial surpluses are principally reinvested in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.
We have met with the team that saved The Seven Stars in Dinton. We see what they achieved as a great model for what we are trying to do in terms of raising investment, but also what The Seven Stars offers and its success as being part of the community. We have also researched many local community owned pubs such as The Boot in Bledlow Ridge and have engaged with The Pub is the Hub, a charity set up to support communities wishing to buy pubs.
How can you own part of the Green Phoenix & what will the company do?
We intend to offer for sale shares in the Green Phoenix to members of the community (but not limited to members of the community). This will enable the Green Phoenix to buy the freehold and building of The Green Dragon Pub.
The Green Phoenix will not operate the pub. It will own and maintain the building which will then be leased to a tenant which will run it along the lines approved by the shareholders. For example the shareholders could insist that it must sell reasonably priced food, two different beers at a competitive price and take an active part in community organisations.
All major decisions affecting the management of the Green Phoenix will be voted on by the shareholders and will require a majority to approve. These decisions would include the appointment of any tenant. This thereby gives the community a direct connection to ensure that the pub reflects their needs.
How much is it all going to cost?
The Pub and Freehold are on the market for £500,000 and we forecast significant costs in terms of building repairs, re-modelling the interior and refurbishments. We estimate these costs at £200,000 and we anticipate stamp duty costs of £15,000.
The total fund raise is estimated at £715,000.
How much will shares cost?
We intend to issue shares in the Green Phoenix at the cost of £5,000 per share. Individuals can buy one, or more, share(s) up to a ceiling of 25% of the total share issue.
We recognise that £5,000 is significant sum and some people may find this unaffordable. Therefore to ensure everyone from the community can engage in this project, people can club together to buy shares between them.
How much can I expect in return from this investment?
As with most start up business models we would not expect to distribute any significant dividend, in the early years of the company. Then if the company does distribute any profits post that period they may not be significant.
We believe this is an opportunity to invest in your community, preserve a much needed and wanted pub by owning part of it as an asset. Hopefully any future dividends and/or capital growth will be enough to deliver a return better than a current bank savings account.
Why will this succeed when it has failed so many times before?
We believe that the commercial terms the brewery put the previous tenants under made it very hard for them to make the pub a success. By releasing the new tenant from these conditions and charging them a competitive market rent we believe this will give them a much greater chance of success.
The fit out of the pub we believe makes it hard to be a success also. We would like to remodel the pub so that it is fitted out more like historic incarnations and with a traditional pub aesthetic. We would also consider reducing the bar in size and re-position it with the aim of creating more space for eating and drinking and to increase the number of food covers, which will in turn help with overall profitability for the tenant.
Finally, the community will be invested in the pub, providing it with a proposition that they want and have bought into. The community will have a direct interest in seeing the pub succeed and will therefore be motivated to use it.
We hope this information has been of interest. If you wish to invest please do email us to confirm with your phone number and one of the team will be in touch, and please do try and come along on 10th January to the Public Meeting.
Thanks for all your support,
The Green Phoenix Team.