Newsletter-September 2023...and a date for your diary!
Hello to all.
Many of you will have seen the flurry of letters that emerged from the fire and demolition of the Crooked House pub, including the Campaign for Pubs open letter to the PM and ours to our MP.
Those keen Henley Standard readers will have also seen the Letter from Goring Heath resident Bill Johns, who we know from previous correspondence from him, is opposed to the White Lion project. It was entitled - Day of ‘the pub’ gone
We have now sent a reply which will hopefully be published in the Letters section of the Henley Standard, next week.
The link to Mr Johns’ letter is shown below. Copy and past to your browser. The letter is the second on the page.
Response to Letter from Mr Johns
Save The White Lion-Crays Pond as a community asset
We felt we should respond to Mr Johns’ letter in your paper.
First- The Group and its support.
The group is a properly constructed community group, consisting of 6 people managing the project.
It set up the White Lion Crays Pond CIC ltd to manage any sale through issuing a prospectus for funds when a sale price is forthcoming.
It is responsible for ‘bidding’ for funds from the Community Ownership scheme.
It remains dormant at this time.
The Community Group holds the fighting fund, which supports the group’s activities.
The group has over 300 properly registered supporters, people who have given us their details, to show their support and to keep up to date with progress.
The group has received pledges of financial support, representing £100,000s of potential cash.
Second- The Pub, its Viability, its Sale and Planning Enforcement.
The property was sold as an ‘Investment Opportunity’ by the previous owners.
PubCo’s have tenancy conditions that penalise success by increasing rents and require purchase of their own products at higher than market prices, no wonder so many fail.
Mr Johns states 1ex-tenant is a success elsewhere. This shows it was the tenancy terms that precluded success at the White Lion, not the individual.
On viability a report was commissioned by the current owner which purported to show it was ‘unviable’. This was dismissed in a planning enforcement review.
As for the owner and his family being ‘turfed out’ he could have run the pub as a pub and he would still be there, but he chose to do things differently. Please see the High Court decision from February 2019 reported on by this paper.
Are we frustrating the owner? The owner does not communicate with us, emails, phone calls and letters remain unanswered and we have no evidence of any future plans for the site.
Third- The Price, our intentions.
The thrust of the campaign to change the law regarding pub sales is that a pub site is valued as a Pub, not as a development opportunity.
Sales to developers are based on them taking a business risk on getting the status of the land the pub sits on changed to ‘Residential’ in order to profit.
We have a Pub Valuation on the property and have offered over the amount stated.
We would point out that Community Interest Companies are ideal for the purpose of buying the Pub because of the asset lock which means any assets remain within the community and the fact that only 35% of profits can be distributed to shareholders.
We would suggest that the only person leaving the site to rot is the owner.
And Finally –See our objectives on our website and keep up to date on our Blog page.
And now your POP up Pub pops up again.
We are pleased confirm the date of the Supporters evenings at Goring Heath Hall.
It will be on the 27th of October.
We hope you can support this event in aid of the fighting fund
We hope you could take the time to attend to meet the group, have fun with family and friends, and generally enjoy yourself in your Pop Up White Lion …More to follow with full details of the White Lion Pop up Pub event.
It will be a private event, with no Entry Fee, and Booking will be needed.
Watch this space.
The Crays Pond Community Group
Some of you may still wish to show our MP that you support our campaign to reopen The White Lion Crays Pond as a Pub and so much more.
You can by emailing him at- email@example.com