Invest in a Pub and Community Hub
We’re launching our share offer.
We have a business plan that shows how we can build a great village pub in Stoke Ferry. It is based on what villagers said they wanted in our Spring 2020 survey.
We need a minimum of
£180,000 to buy the pub
£80,000 to renovate and reopen it
£20,000 working capital
This will be met by loans and grants of £100,000 and share sales of £180,000.
We aim to open for business in July 2021 once the extensive renovations are complete.
Anyone can join in to secure the future of the Blue Bell in Stoke Ferry as a pub and community hub.
You can own your own piece of a lovely Norfolk pub and know that you are supporting a rural community in a beautiful part of the country.
The minimum investment is one share, for £50. It’s a great Christmas present and you will get a personalised share certificate that you can display. You will also get a vote as a member of the Community Benefit Society that will run the pub.
We need to raise at least £180,000 from share sales, so we hope that those who can afford to put in a bit more will do so. The maximum investment by any individual is £30,000, so don’t hold back.
Our share offer will run from 27th November until 31st January.
What we need to do now
Raise share funds of a minimum of £180,000 and finalise the More Than A Pub funding of £100,000 by end January 2021
Complete purchase of the Blue Bell January 2021
Renovation begins February, ends July 2021
Reopening July 2021
The sale of the Blue Bell Pub
The current owner of The Blue Bell has put the pub and surrounding land – including the pub garden and car park up for sale by auction on 16th December. Another part of the site, land to the rear of the property, has been listed for sale separately and with access through the pub car park.
If we have raised sufficient funds to make a bid on the pub at auction on 16th December, we will do so. This is why we are encouraging people to act now and buy shares. If we fall short but are close to the amount we need, we will have the confidence to secure short-term bridging finance to allow us to complete the purchase whilst we continue our campaign to reach our target figure.
It is also important to note that our own independently commissioned valuation of the pub is slightly lower than the guide price it is listed for at auction. The reserve price is never revealed but it is usually within 10% of the guide price, so it is likely within a range of £162,000 - £198,000. Given that the owner has consistently over-valued the premises, we are expecting the reserve to be towards the higher end of the scale. That, coupled with the terms of sale set out in the auction pack, whereby the buyer must pay ALL of the sellers costs, means that even if we bid at auction, we are unlikely to be able to purchase it for our maximum of £180,000.
However, we also think that the only other potential buyer (if any) will be someone wishing to run the premises as a pub. If such a buyer steps forward, we will not stand in their way because the village has been clear that it would prefer a private buyer to take over the pub. We would then work with them to help them make a success of the pub. We think it unlikely that there will be another potential buyer who intends to convert the pub to residential use given that two such planning applications have been refused in the last year.
In short, if it fails to sell at auction (to us at a realistic price, or to anyone else), we believe we will be in a stronger position to negotiate a fair price immediately after.
Asset of Community Value Status
The Borough Council has accepted as valid our application for The Blue Bell to be listed again as an Asset of Community Value. This will make it even more difficult for the current or any future owner to change the use of the premises.
What you can do
Apply for your shares as soon as possible so that we can see whether we are going to reach our target and to help us get to a much stronger negotiating position.
Our plan for The Blue Bell
A living room in Stoke Ferry with a warm welcome for locals and visitors alike
The reborn Blue Bell will be a traditional, stylish, comfortable, welcoming, family friendly village local with all the modern extras:
Quality bar food, snacks, coffees/teas, cakes to have in or take away
Imaginative and appealing vegetarian/vegan dishes
Locally sourced foods and use of organic ingredients where possible
Local beers, spirits and coffee
All-day café service
A parcel depot and prescription pick-up service
‘Café for Carers’; respite for carers to come together for mutual support
A hub for clubs, retirees, and other social groups
A regular Citizens’ Café where people can listen to and debate topics of interest e.g. local history, development of the village, Black History Month, Pride
A history archive of images, documents & artefacts relating for Stoke Ferry and the surrounding villages
Use of recycled/up-cycled materials and purchases through Stoke Ferry Market Place and local web sites, thus keeping money within the local economy
Using local tradespeople and suppliers wherever possible