St Mary's Centre
By Haddenham Webteam - 11th January 2019 11:30am
The Walter Rose Room was packed to the gunwales on Thursday evening (10th January) as village residents came to hear details from the team that is seeking to purchase the Green Dragon as a community asset — indeed, it was standing room only, with some folk having to find a listening point in the kitchenette area or the corridor.
Representing the Green Phoenix Community Interest Company (CIC) were Jamie Hall, Chris Martin, Alex Giles, Nick Leale, and Alex Wagstaff — all residents of Haddenham.
They presented an eloquent case for acquiring the pub, highlighting what they see as the key concerns and hurdles that need to be overcome if the Green Dragon is to become a community-owned pub.
Among these concerns were:
The most appropriate style of ownership — the primary options being: a limited company, a community benefit society or a community interest company. The latter had been selected as the most suitable.
The 'pub's proposition' — i.e., the nature of the food and drinks offering to the public, in order to:
* maximise the likelihood of the Green Dragon achieving commercial success
* differentiate itself from the other three pubs in the village
* allow other pubs and cafes to continue to prosper
Feedback was taken on this key question, and there appeared to be some consensus for a very good quality but affordable food offering with free-house ales and adequate space for those who just want to enjoy a quiet drink.
Further feedback is welcome on this, as the Green Phoenix CIC team members seek to refine their thinking.
The need to value the property and be in a position to make a serious bid to buy the pub.
This all needs to happen by early March 2019, with financing in place.
This will require a formal structural survey, and factoring in the earnings potential of the pub as a business. There could also be competitive bids, which would obviously impact the final sale price for the building.
To fund the structural survey, the Green Phoenix CIC team asked for donations from individuals in the order of £50-£100 to fund the £1,500 +VAT estimate for the work. This would represent a sunk cost — i.e. a gift from residents.
The price at which village residents (and others) can invest (see ⌘) in the Green Dragon remains a key question. The CIC Team is looking to raise approximately £500,000 to purchase the building, plus another £215,000 to fund vital refurbishments.
The number of shares issued will influence the amount of administration work required, and as a voluntary group the CIC team is keen to minimise this — while at the same time making it possible for individuals and families, clubs, groups and other local bodies to invest.
The chosen figure is currently positioned at £5,000 per share — but feedback on this is welcome
(⌘) The return on investment will be more complicated than a traditional share in a commercial company and potential investors need to read the details in the accompanying document — see PDF. There are some tax advantages (income tax and capital gains tax) for investing in a CIC.
The meeting concluded with a passionate plea by Jamie Hall for financial support from the Haddenham community, so that this significant project might help to maintain a strong sense of community as the village grows.
For more information, see the meeting notes (PDF) appended to this webpage as well as further explanatory details in this news article.
The Green Phoenix CIC website also offers further information and a means to make contact with the team to discuss a donation and an investment.
If you are inclined to contribute, please make contact with the CIC team as soon as possible — timing is extremely tight. At the very least, please visit the Green Phoenix CIC website and express your interest so you will then then receive mailings from the team.