Skeeby is a small village between Richmond and Scotch Corner, in North Yorkshire, and with over 1000 years of recorded history, Skeeby is listed in the Domesday Book. Like many small villages, Skeeby once had a thriving local community with a village shop, post office, pub, church, chapel and village hall. Unfortunately, that sense of community has in recent years been undermined by the loss of our village facilities.
The Skeeby Community Pub Society Ltd was established to buy the Traveller's Rest for the village, in response to the purchase of the property from Newcastle breweries by a property developer who wanted to turn it into a dwelling house.
The Travellers Rest as a valued community asset would be a great loss to the village.
In May 2010, the Society made an offer to purchase The Travellers Rest from the current owner (the property developer) at a sum representing a 17% profit to the applicant on his purchase price prior to any refurbishment works being undertaken. This offer was refused.
On 5th May 2011, on Radio 4's "World of Business" programme, the current owner declared his intention to develop the pub into a dwelling house:
“we’re doing this as a family home ... it is going to be very quiet and peaceful and nobody is going to talk to me, its going to be fantastic, I couldn’t think of anything better”.
Since then, in the light of the large number of objections, the current owner has withdrawn his application for planning/conversion permission. The Traveller's Rest remains unsold, and undeveloped, and efforts at negotiating purchase at a reasonable price have since proved unsuccsessful.In May 2011 the Property Developer attempted to gain permission to change the Village stores into a micro pub.
The place for that community pub is The Travellers Rest – a community facility that can support community gathering, community dining, village sports, and the celebration of our community, none of which can be supported by a small converted shop with an approximate maximum licensed standing capacity of 20.
On Wednesday 18th May 2011 following public objections to the opening of a micro pub in Skeeby Stores, the Property Developer sent an email to The Skeeby Community Pub Society Limited, stating the following,
‘As from this Friday I have terminated the contract with the local building contractor with immediate effect until such a time that the property has an agreement for lease in place with a credible tenant’.
The campaign to purchase the pub as a community facility continues however, and despite the protracted difficulties, the Society feels sure that a successful outcome for all parties concerned can be achieved.
A further offer to purchase the pub was made on 18th September 2011.
Back in 2010, the new (and still current) owner told the Society that he had no intention of selling the property to the village, and would board up the property until the village became bored with it, then re-submit his application for change of use. This is what has happened - however, the renewed application attracted a significant level of objection and the application was deferred until January 2016.
The pub has been registered by the Society as an Asset of Community Value.
The pub has been independently valued at £110,00, less by £65,000 than the current owner's asking price.
We intend to submit a new bid with support from the community.
The Travellers Rest - Update 16 December 2016
Requests for Expressions of interest to invest
Thank you to everyone that attended the meeting at the village hall on Sunday 13 December.
To have over 40 people turn out on a freezing and icy winter evening was a fantastic show of support from the village. We know several couldn’t make it and offered apologies in advance and we are sure that others would have attended had the conditions been better underfoot so to briefly update, the SCPS gave an overview of the current position:
- We registered the Travellers Rest as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in November 2015
- The current owner’s change of use application was deferred by Richmond District Council until the January planning committee to see whether we (SCPS) came forward with an intention to bid
- We registered our intention to prepare a bid for the purchase of the pub in late November, this has invoked a moratorium until 09 May 2016 whereby the current owner cannot sell to any other party or change the use
An independent valuation commissioned by RDC has valued the pub in its current state at approximately £110,000. We estimate that the property will require in the region of a further £100,000 to be invested to fund a suitable renovation. Our outline business plans support a level of investment of that order.
Martin Booth of Hudswell’s George and Dragon community pub gave a presentation of their experience of setting up the community initiative and of running the pub since it’s opening in July 2010. The George and Dragon is entirely owned by community investors who let a tenancy for a fair rent. The rental income from the tenancy has provided an income to the community company and has paid a dividend of between 1.5% and 3.5% of each year of operation.
We are an Industrial and Provident Society for community benefit in the same way as the George and Dragon is. Our proposal is very similar in that we are seeking to raise funds to buy and renovate the property and then let it to a tenant. We would not propose to be the operator of the pub. Our community society would continue to own the property and hopefully earn an annual dividend of a similar level to the George and Dragon from its rental.
We had a fantastic initial response on the night to our request for initial expressions of interest to invest in the Skeeby Community Pub Society to fund the proposed purchase and renovation. We received 20 expressions on the night with further expressions received since.
The initial expressions of interest give us a fantastic start and a very strong base on which to build. Thank you.
We would be grateful if you could consider our request to express your interest to invest. This can be done by completing the Expression of Interest form and returning in confidence. All responses will be treated confidentially. At this stage we are asking for an indication of potential levels of investment, not a firm commitment. Please return to P Bell, 16 Richmond Road, Skeeby or email to [email protected] by 08 January.