The community of Ashton Hayes is aiming to purchase its village’s only pub, The Golden Lion, and reopen it as a community owned village pub and hub enterprise.
Building on the success of their previous community ventures, the Going Carbon Neutral project and Village Community Shop, a Community Benefit Society has been formed and a share offer has been launched.
Residents and investors are being invited to invest in a community enterprise which will ensure this vital village asset remains as a functioning pub and hub for generations to come.
In order to achieve this ambitious but achievable goal the Community Benefit Society needs the help of large numbers of supporters.
It has created a not for profit business (CBS) set up to buy the Golden Lion and reopen it.
Part of the financing plan is a Community Share Offer through which CBS aims to raise a minimum of £250,000.
Commenting on the background to The Golden Lion project, committee chairman Hugo Deynem said: “This is the only pub in Ashton Hayes and it has an outstanding track record going back many years.
“Because it has always been a highly valued village institution it was one of the very first to be listed as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act 2012. “In January 2013, the pub ceased trading and since then the owner has tried without success to obtain planning permission to redevelop the pub and site for residential dwellings.
“The planning applications were strongly opposed by the local community, Parish Council and the Borough Council.
“We as a community want our treasured Golden Lion back open and serving its community once again.”
In October 2017, the owners announced their intention to sell the pub, triggering a six-month period for the community to consider making an offer for the premises and subsequently raise the funds needed.
The CBS is aiming to raise enough to finance the both the overall purchase and subsequent refurbishment. This will be raised through the community share offer, share match grants, grants and crowd funding.
At least 50 community-owned pubs and micro-breweries in the UK are financed by community shares along with some 65 community-owned shops.
Parish cllr and secretary of the CBS Lisa Allman said: “This share offer represents a fantastic opportunity for residents of Ashton Hayes to strengthen the vibrancy and sustainability of our community.
“A community share offer provides an opportunity for local people, investors and businesses to buy into a community where the motivation and payback is leaning more towards a social than financial return.”
Investors will have their name recorded for posterity on a ‘Roll of Honour’ within the Golden Lion and receive a share certificate.
Vice chair Trevor Scadeng said: “A question often put is: if The Golden Lion is sold at a later stage, for whatever reason, how would the shareholders be repaid their investment?
“The answer is straightforward, investors would claim their money back from the proceeds of any sale, after repayment of any debts.
“Any surplus after that would have to be paid to a charitable or community body in line with the rules of the society.”
The minimum investment is £200 per investor, with a maximum of £25,000 per individual investor.
The offer opens on February 26 and runs until closing on March 28.
Organisations who wish to support the Golden Lion are welcome to invest in the same way, and the management committee has agreed to increase the maximum to £100,000 for an investment from the Community Share Booster Program.
If investors ever want their money back, they will have the right to withdraw some, or all of their share capital, subject to notice, terms and conditions.
Funding lead Kate Harrison said: “We are grateful for the support from The Plunkett Foundation through the More Than a Pub programme (funded by the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Power to Change) which also provided a £2,500 bursary, The Community Shares Booster Programme, and Cooperative and Mutual Solutions in helping in taking this exciting project forward.”
The business plan and prospectus can be downloaded from www.goldenlionashtonhayes.co.uk .