NOVEMBER 2017 – SCPS ASKS COUNCIL TO CONSIDER COMPULSORY PURCHASE
Since the October website update, we have put in a formal request to the Council to consider Compulsory Purchase, which they are now doing. We are continuing to lobby the Council in this regard.
As mentioned in the October update, SCPS plans to put on an event and further publicise the campaign to re-engage with the community and potential investors, but this will probably now be in the New Year when we anticipate further feedback from the Council.
Just a brief summary to let our supporters know what’s been happening since the Planning Appeal decision in April. Following this, SCPS tried to bring the Travellers Rest’s owner to the negotiating table, but despite offering to meet, we were only met with a dismissive email repeating a sale figure in the region of the inflated sums which were thoroughly discredited by the Planning Inspector’s report.
SCPS has since been in discussions with the Plunkett Foundation (PF) about grant funding for possible future publicity, survey, etc. costs; and conducted a very informative joint study visit, with a representative of PF, to another community pub group in West Yorkshire who are in a similar situation to our own. Finally, we have recently met with Richmondshire District Council, to see how the Council might be able to assist in moving things forward.
We realise that many people will be unaware that all these things have been going on behind the scenes, and that, as a result, potential investors’ interest may have waned. We therefore plan to hold another briefing meeting and social event in the near future to bring everyone up to date in our efforts to the buy and re-open the Travellers Rest as a community pub. Further information on this event and other developments will follow by email and website update.
PLANNING APPEAL FAILS
In April we learned that Travellers Rest owner, John Whitfield, had failed in his attempt to over-turn the refusal of his 2015 Change of Use Planning Application. The Planning Inspector’s report concluded that Mr Whitfield had failed again to provide justification for an appeal on any of his three main arguments: viability, community support and valuation.
We would like again to thank those supporters who sent in letters and emails to the Planning Inspector in support of our defence of this Planning Appeal.
We will now seek to re-open negotiations with the owner at sensible market value levels, and explore further funding options and other community project best practice. On this last point, we would like to offer our congratulations to the George and Dragon, Hudswell for their award of CAMRA National “Pub of the Year, 2016”. This just shows the level of success which can be achieved by a well-run community pub.
December 30th 2016
TRAVELLERS REST OWNER LAUNCHES PLANNING APPEAL
We understand that John Whitfield, owner of the Travellers Rest, has now appealed against the refusal of his second Change of Use Planning Application. The case is now with the Planning Inspectorate but we have no details of the nature of appeal. We will make ourselves available to Richmond District Council to review the appeal when it comes back for comment. In the meantime SCPS has not been inactive. Further discussions have been taking place with the Plunkett Foundation who have developed an action plan for us to move the project forward. We have also been in touch with a community pub group in Calderdale who have successfully fought and defeated six planning applications for change of use for the pub in their community and we are planning a visit to learn from their experience.
A happy 2017 to all our potential investors. Watch out for further updates.
October 13th 2016
SCPS MEETS PLUNKETT FOUNDATION TO DISCUSS SUPPORT
SCPS has successfully applied for support from the Plunkett Foundation, an organisation which advises and supports community projects particularly in rural areas, including channelling grant funding on behalf of government and other sources.
SPSC committee members had an initial meeting with a Plunkett Foundation advisor on 10 Oct 2016 from which an action plan will be developed to take forward our objective to purchase, renovate and re-open The Travellers Rest with the help of advice, mentoring and financial assistance from the Foundation.
September 23rd 2016: FULL SUPPORT GIVEN BY CLLR. ANGUS THOMPSON
At a meeting on Friday night, Cllr. Angus Thompson gave his full support to the Pub Society, and agreed to assist with our plans for further negotiation of a reasonable purchase price with the current owner.
September 23rd 2016: SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION FOR COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP AWARD FROM PLUNKETT FOUNDATION
The Plunkett Foundation, which promotes and supports co-operatives and social enterprises in rural communities worldwide, has declared that the Skeeby Community Pub Society's recent request for support was deemed eligible, and fully funded support will be available through the "More than a Pub" programme.
28th June 2016: CHANGE OF USE APPLICATION REFUSED
The planning committee of Richmond District Council has refused a Change of Use application - thank you to all who wrote letters of support. Cllr John Blackie is to be thanked for his passionate support of the community and our efforts to return the pub to the village.
7th February 2016: SKEEBY COMMUNITY PUB
SOCIETY RELAUNCHTHEIR BID TO BUY THE TRAVELLERS REST
Over 40 villagers turned out on an icy winter’s night to meet at Skeeby Village Hall where the Skeeby Community Pub Society relaunched
their bid to buy the Travellers Rest pub.The Society Chairman, Paul Bell, explained “Although the pub has been closed for over 7 years, our
recent success to register The Travellers Rest as an Asset of Community Value
and the success of the community’s efforts that helped defer the most recent
application by the current owner for a change of use to a domestic house, has
provided the opportunity for The Society to confirm their intention to submit a
bid to purchase the pub. These recent actions have now triggered a 6 month
window of opportunity to raise interest and enough financial support to
purchase the building with a view to renovating it and re-open it as a
community pub like the George and Dragon in Hudswell and the Forresters Arms,
Carlton in Coverdale. During this period the current owner is not allowed to
sell the property to anyone else, or convert it to other use”.
Martin Booth, one of the directors of the George and Dragon, gave a short presentation and answered questions on their successful Community Pub project, explaining that the Hudswell model of recruiting tenants to run the business provided a relatively risk-free route for investors who retained ownership of the building and could expect to receive an annual dividend of 1.5 to 3.5%.
There followed of a lively questions and answer session during which the village community gave a strong vote of support to the Society and their efforts. This support was backed up on the night by over 20 confirmed expressions of interest to invest in the initiative. Paul Bell added
“Whilst there is plenty of work still to do, to have had such a strong response in relaunching our bid and seeing the level of enthusiasm and commitment gives the Society a fantastic base from which to develop a commercial offer”.
Efforts will be continuing to raise investment support both within the community and from further afield.
To get in touch email [email protected].