November 15, 2018

STORY SO FAR

It is now December 2019 and what an eventful year it has been!

In January Richard Sadler the Chairman of the HJCC left to take up new responsibilities with ‘North Yorkshire for Europe. The HCJJ was transformed into a Community Benefit Society, The HJCP Ltd, and a new Management Team took up the reins – Dave Robinson/Chairman; Richard Sadler/Vice-Chair; Bryan Pool/Treasurer; Kevin Ison/Company Secretary; Sarah Haslam/Administration Secretary and Janet Robinson/Promotions.

As the ‘protected period’ of the ACV on the western half of the Henry Jenkins Inn (which he still owned) had expired, David Fielder informed HBC that it was now up for sale. This triggered a ‘moratorium period’ where interested parties were required to register their interest. The HJCP announced their ‘intention to bid’ for this part – the only part that was currently for sale.

After an intense ‘internal review’ where the logistics and viability of owning just half of the existing site, with just a minor part of the car park, was discussed, the Management Team decided to continue with the campaign. A Rebuild/Refurb Costing Document was commissioned, a Valuation Survey obtained and Pre-Application Planning advice sought from HBC, with a meeting from a Senior Planning Officer taking place at the site. A new Business Plan and Community Share Offer were drawn up and both of these were granted a Standard Mark by the Community Shares Unit who are backed-up by the FCA.

Two public meetings were then held in June, prior to the end of the moratorium period in July. The Business Plan and Community Share Offer were presented and questions invited from the residents of the parish. David Fielder, owner of the western part of the Henry Jenkins and Justin Claybourn, his associate, owner of the ‘eastern-annexe’ attended the second of these meetings.

In the course of the ‘lively’ debates it was announced that the ‘eastern-annexe’ was also now up for sale. Accordingly, when the HJCP Ltd bid was forwarded (as it was required to be) prior to the conclusion of the moratorium period on 5th July, two separate bids were made; one for each part of the building. A meeting was also agreed between Mr Fielder and his associate and the HJCP but unfortunately the terms of reference and specific date and time have yet to be agreed Disappointingly, the first bids made by the HJCP were rejected but further enhanced offers were requested.

Discussions with investors and supporters over the next few weeks revealed disquiet about the viability of pursuing the purchase of both parts of the site separately; people just did not understand nor fully support the strategy. As this is what was specified within the Business Plan and Community Share Offer, a motion to change the formal objective and go for the whole site as one, rather than for the two halves separately, was placed before the membership and was carried unanimously.

Subsequently, to accommodate the change of direction, the Management Team has been working on modifications to the Model Rules within which the HJCP operate under the FCA; this process will be completed soon.

However, the vote itself authorised the change, so the next bid, forwarded to Mssrs Fielder and Claybourn, in October, was for the whole site. This bid, prepared on our behalf by Co-Operative and Mutual Solutions Ltd (CMS) who, with the Plunkett Foundation and Locality, (all organisations created to assist community groups) have been supporting our campaign, has not yet received a response.

At the end of August, Justin Claybourn’s Planning Application for the ‘eastern-annexe’ was refused by HBC Planners, who re-iterated their previous view that they would ‘not grant domestic planning permission under any circumstances as the protection by the planning policies CFX and NPPF, stated that the whole site has to be retained as a community asset.’ Nothing can be plainer! David Fielder has indicated that an appeal will be made against this refusal but this has not yet been lodged. As a previous appeal was refused and nothing materially has changed it is unlikely that another one will.

However, an application for the re-application of the ACV onto the ‘eastern-annexe’ was refused and a meeting to discuss this is soon to be held between our Management Team and HBC at the Council Offices in Harrogate.

In the first part of the year, just at the end of their Support-Scheme, we benefited from some financial support from Locality, for which we are very grateful. In mid-November, the Plunkett Foundation, who guided us through the process of setting up our CBS and the creation of our Business Plan and Community Share Offer, granted us a bursary contribution of £2500 to our Fighting Fund, which will help finance all our ongoing expenses such as stationary, postage, printing & room hire costs. We would wish to say a big ‘Thank You’ for their help and assistance. No payments of any kind are made to any individuals involved in the promotion of this campaign.

Since our change of direction was announced there has been a great upsurge in the levels of our Membership and Community Share sales. Up to the 1st December, we have 149 members and an investment level of a huge £170,750.00!!

But we still cannot lose sight of what we need – and that is our target figure of £230,00.00. We still have another 26% – or £59,250.00 to go. So, we will continue with our media campaign, using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; we will still stick our posters up round our villages and place our leaflets through your letter-boxes! And for your part, please do what you can to spread the news and help us cross our finish line!!

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It is November 2018 and we are now presenting our objections for the third planning application on the Henry Jenkins in the last 2 years.
In that time we have also had three Asset of Community Value (ACV) nominations and are about to submit our fourth.
We have had to fight off a change of use to a estate office and had to present our case for a planning appeal and also an ACV review.

And now we are looking at a Pub that has a landlocked section which includes the car park,  sold by the developer to a colleague with restrictive covenants on it that prevents is being used as a Pub and also an ACV review on the remainder!

It is a simple battle between an out of town property developer who aims to profit from developing the Pub into houses and a community group that sees the Henry Jenkins serving the community for generations to come.

How did it come to this?