We have decided how a bid would be legally structured and how it would need to be financed. We have decided that the most realistic approach to running the business will be to lease it to a tenant. We have secured sufficient funding from the Plunkett Foundation, a charity specialising in fostering community businesses, for an independent professional business valuation, which is about to take place.
How would a bid be financed?
A bid for the pub would be made by a newly created Community Benefit Society (see September’s Dorchester News for more detail on what this is). The Society would issue shares, probably of £100 each. Investors can purchase up to 1,000 shares (ie. worth a maximum of £100,000). Preference would be given to small shareholders if the demand for shares exceeds the amount needed. Shareholders have one vote each, regardless of the number of shares held, to ensure there is genuine community ownership of the project. No dividends are paid on shares, but interest up to 2% over base rate can be paid if the Society can afford it. The shares can be withdrawn by the Society at their face value after three years if the Society can afford to do so. The Society’s profits must be reinvested in the business or another local charity. In summary, shareholding is not so much a financial investment as a commitment to a community project. We want as many shareholders as possible.
What do we need from you?
We need to know what you want from the Fleur de Lys. For example, wholesome food at a good price or something fancier? Sunday roast lunch? A quiet drink or event evenings or periodic live music? TV for sports and other events? Pub games? Childrens’ play area in the garden? A cafe during the day? Is the car park needed or could the space be used better for something else, in which case what? What else could the Fleur provide? We need to know your priorities.
We need to know whether you are prepared to participate by pledging to buy shares, and an indication of how much you might put up.
We need to know if you know someone outside the village who might be able to help our bid, whether they are individuals willing to invest or businesses or other organisations who could help in some other way.
A survey to help answer these questions will be circulated soon. In the meantime, please think about what your answers will be.
When we have your views from the survey and the professional business valuation we will have a much better idea of what our target is and what might be feasible. We can prepare a proper business plan, investment strategy and share issue prospectus. We can enter into informed discussion with the present owner of the Fleur. We can inject realism into the strong support at July’s meeting for the idea of a Community owned Fleur de Lys.
If you have ideas for the pub, would like to help or have any other questions or thoughts please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who we are
The working group comprises Jason Coe, Mike Davies, Richard Farrant, Chris Hill, Melanie Hill, Ed Metcalfe and Ollie Margison. We are all local residents. Talk to any of us.