Sunday, April 20, 2014
Regulars at Sidbury’s last pub are seeking support as they offer villagers a £200,000 stake in the burgeoning business.
Sidbury Community Enterprises (SCE) needs to hit the six-figure share target in five weeks if it is to see the Red Lion become East Devon’s first community-owned inn.
The campaigners have drawn up a business plan and are confident it is viable, and now hope drinkers will put their money where their mouth is and give their backing.
Group chairman Fred Burnett said: “We have a vision that a future Red Lion business will be more than just a successful village pub.
“Since the outset the objective has been to retain it as a community asset.
“We want the pub to be at the heart of the community. We want to support and work with local community groups and events. We also want to use the pub as a base from which new services can be provided to the community.
“Being a community-centred pub is key to our ethos and future success.”
Campaigners have been working for 11 months to ensure the Red Lion is retained in the village as Sidbury’s last pub, and used the skills of a property valuer, a building surveyor, a quantity surveyor and an architect to develop a business plan.
Owners Punch Taverns have agreed to sell the freehold for £190,000 – significantly below the £295,000 asking price – and now SCE need to take out a mortgage and sell shares to reach that target and fund its refurbishment.
But leaders say £200,000 is the least they will need as they develop its food, drink and accommodation offerings and add a café for daytime use. If the shares sold exceed this then the upgrade will be more extensive or the size of the mortgage will be reduced.
Individuals can buy shares for £50 each, up to a total value of £20,000.
For more information on them and to see illustrations of the revamped Red Lion’s interior, attend one of the open days at the village hall next Friday (April 25) and on May 3.
The share offer closes on May 23.