We’re pleased to report that the interim results of an Opinion Survey being carried out across Kirkby, Laverton and Dallowgill suggest that a large majority of residents support plans for the community purchase of the Henry Jenkins.*
We’ve received further encouragement from the generosity of villagers who’ve said they would be prepared to buy community shares: So far more than £70,000 has been promised in informal pledges (at this stage there is no commitment). We expect this figure to keep on increasing as more survey forms come in.
We anticipate that community share issues will provide the bulk of the necessary finance for purchase and refurbishment: Experience from other community-owned pubs suggests that up to 60 per cent of shares may ultimately be bought by people from outside the village. The remainder will be raised through grants and loans. At present we are eligible to apply for up to £100,000 in grants and loans from the Plunkett Foundation. If we achieve our objective to buy the pub, there will be opportunities for grant funding and sponsorship from numerous other sources.
The HJCC is proposing the purchase and refurbishment of the Henry Jenkins as a community-owned family bistro, coffee shop and real ale bar with b&b accommodation. As well as this, villagers are being asked for their opinion on possible non-core services such as an artisan bakery, a sub post office, a micro library, a bunk house, a cycle hire shop or a games room for young people. What we eventually end up providing will depend on the level of support. Our aim is to consult as widely as possible and to complement – not compete with – existing facilities.
Once refurbishment has been completed, our favoured business model is to offer a tenancy for the core business plus separate tenancies for any non core businesses. This means services would be run like any other business with paid staff – not by volunteers – but the building would be owned by the community… and all profits from rental income would go to the community. This model has proved very successful with other established community-owned facilities.
We will shortly be carrying out a study tour of other community owned pubs in the North of England under the guidance of business advisers appointed by the Plunkett Foundation, the national charity that provides Government funding and expertise on community buyouts.
As plans progress we intend to publish a fully-costed business plan and draw up a formal prospectus for community share purchases. We will also plan to set ourselves up as a properly-constituted community group, governed by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The Henry Jenkins Community Co-op, which is recognised by Harrogate Borough Council as a legitimate community group, is run by a committee of 10-15 volunteers, whose original objective was to stop plans for the pub’s demolition – but who are now focused on plans for a community buyout. If you wish to become involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The interim results were handed out at a hearing held last week into an appeal by Mr Fielder against refusal of planning permission for demolition of the Henry Jenkins and redevelopment of the site with housing. Around a third of all households have been balloted so far. When all the forms are in they will be presented to the Parish Council and the results made public.