Frequently Asked Questions
Please note that things are evolving quickly with the plans for the Osgathorpe Community Pub. We endeavour to keep the list of FAQs up to date, but some of the answers given may not always be 100% accurate. For a definitive answer to your question please ask one of the group. Details can be found here.
Please browse our FAQs below or use the search
What is a Community Pub?
The local community sets up a co-operative society for the benefit of the community in which anyone can buy shares. The society buys the pub building and associated land. It can run the pub itself, employ a manager or lease the pub to a tenant. The OCPL’s preferred approach is to lease to a tenant who would live above the pub and run the business. The terms of the lease agreed with the tenant to ensure that the Pub could be a successful business and that it served the needs of the community.
Do community pubs work?
Yes! There are a growing number of community-run pubs in the UK, with more opening every month, most using exactly the same model as we are proposing here, and many in smaller communities. For a few examples of other community pubs please go to the Links Page.
Who will benefit from this venture?
Our aim is that the whole community of Osgathorpe will benefit by retaining the pub as a focal point of our village by it offering other village-based initiatives and services. Also, losing the pub would almost certainly see a decrease in residential property prices – it is in every Osgathorpe householder’s interest to keep the pub open. The plan is that the pub, under the society’s ownership, will provide a sustainable source of income to the Parish Council for it invest in the village in other ways. The amount of income will depend on the final deal made to purchase the pub and the lease agreement reached with the prospective Tenant.
How will the pub create ongoing funds for the village?
The Section 106 money, to purchase and for initial renovation, is being provided from North West District Council, via the Parish Council, in the form of a loan. Once the pub is re-established under the society’s ownership, rent from the pub (trading profits would belong to the tenant landlord if this approach is taken) will be handed back to the Parish Council in the form of loan repayments meaning that the Parish Council will have a sustainable source of income to invest in the village in other ways. The details of this arrangement will depend on the rental agreement reached with the Tenant and the government rules in place at that time.
Where is the money coming from to buy and improve the pub?
At the end of 2014 the District Planning Committee (DPC) approved the building of a number of houses on Dawson’s Road subject to the developer paying £300,000 to the District Council as part of a 106 agreement. The distribution of this money is being managed through the Parish Council. Up to £200,000 is set aside to buy the freehold of the Storey Arms with the remaining £100,000 to support any other village improvements as agreed by the Parish Council, including renovation of the pub.
The OCPL had raised more than £25,000 from grants, including from the Big Society and NWLDC Twenty for Seven. Some of this grant money has been used for legal advice on the most appropriate contract between the Parish Council and the society for the supply of funds made available through the Section 106 agreement. Unfortunately due to the lack of progress in buying the pub the Twenty for Seven grant (which was held by NWLDC) has had to be withdrawn. Once the community owns the pub these types of grants will be applied for again.
Who will run the pub?
The OCPL's has considered various ways in which the pub could be run and has consulted with a number of successfully run community pubs to help understand the pros and cons of the different ways of doing this.
Our current preferred option for running the pub would be to have an experienced landlord as a Tenant who would lease the property from the village. The day to day running of the pub would be the responsibility of the Tenant who would run the pub as a commercial business. In this case members of the community will not run the pub.
The society (OCPL), which will own the freehold of the pub, will have an elected management committee who will work with the landlord to ensure the pub is delivering what the community needs which will be specified in the lease agreement. The society will also be responsible for the maintenance of fabric of the building (i.e. repairs).
This tenant model was chosen as the lead option as it would mean that the Tenant would take all the commercial risk of running the pub and be incentivised to run it successfully as their business. It would also minimise the level of day-to-day management needed by members of the OCPL.
Who gets to choose the new landlord?
The new Landlord will be chosen by the OCPL management committee via a recruitment process. Prospective, experienced tenants will be expected to present a sustainable and viable business plan to the committee and demonstrate an in depth understanding of the requirements of the community.
What is OCPL Management Committee? Do members have a personal interest?
The present management committee is made up of four volunteer residents, who are the current members of OCPL.
Rob Whyard Chair
Dave Bull Vice Chair
Pete Hodgson Treasurer / Secretary
Simon Blunt Member
This is a group of local people believe passionately in preserving the Storey Arms and increasing its customer base, relevance to the village and its long term viability. Collectively there is a wealth of business and community experience within the Committee. None of the Committee Members have any personal interest in the current ownership of the freehold of the Storey Arms.
In future these vacancies will be filled by other members of the community who volunteer for the positions and be voted in by members of the society. As there is currently no progress in purchasing the pub the membership of the society has been kept small. However, once progress looks possible the membership will be opened up to the whole village and input and involvement for a wide range of villagers sought.
If you want to know more about OCPL membership or the Management Committee, please contact one of the committee members.
What is the OCPL?
OCPL is the Osgathorpe Community Pub Limited, which is the official name of society set up to buy the pub, The Storey Arms, and enable it to continue as a village pub in the future. OPCL is already established as a Registered Society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 (Registered Number 32411R) and has been set up with help from the Plunkett Foundation and has adopted their rules. The OCPL is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The OCPL is working closely with the Parish Council to purchase the pub for the village.
What is a Registered Society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014?
- A Registered Society, such as OCPL, can either be a Cooperative which exists primarily for the benefit of its members or like OCPL it can exist for the benefit of the community at large rather than just the members.
- The society must specify the geographic community, community of interest, or other group of people it intends to serve. For us, this is the community pub.
- It must state what the activities of benefit will be and explain how they will benefit the community.
- It must also state how the profit or surplus of the society will be used. A Registered Society can run a business whose purpose is to serve the interests of the community at large. It is usual to issue shares for members, but profits or assets must not be distributed to the members but be used to further the objectives of the society.
- The society's rules must not allow its assets to be distributed to its members on dissolution. The rules should state that on dissolution the assets should be transferred, for example, to some other body with similar objectives. If no such body exists, the rules should state that the assets must then be used for similar charitable or philanthropic purposes.
What is the Plunkett Foundation?
The OCPL is registered with the Plunkett Foundation and we have used them for advice on purchasing the pub, raising money, share issue and encouraging community involvement. We have adopted their model society rules and code of conduct for running a Community Benefit Society. The OCPL Rules and Code of Conduct are available on request.
The Plunkett Foundation was formed in 1919 to supports people, predominantly in rural areas, to set up and run life-changing community co-operatives; enterprises that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people in their community. They help people to tackle a range of issues, from isolation and loneliness to poverty, and come in many forms including shops, cafes, pubs and land-based initiatives, and everything in between.
For more information please visit the Plunkett website:
Who are the members of OCPL?
There are currently the 4 management committee are the only members. As there has been limited progress on buying the pub over the last year we have not tried to expand the membership. If we do see some progress, then we will want to expand the membership as much as possible to get a much wider group involved.
How do I become a member of OCPL?
Anyone over the age of 18 can become a member of OCPL by applying to the management committee and purchasing a least 1 share in the OCPL. The Management Committee are not currently encouraging new members for now because of the slow progress in buying the pub. Once it is clear that we are able to buy the pub details of how to become a member and the prospectus for buying shares in the OCPL will be circulated in the village.
More information about membership shares
Shares in the Osgathorpe Community Pub Ltd (OCPL) are issued under the cooperative and community benefit rules. Money from their issue will be used to help with financing the purchase, setup and running of the Storey Arms as a community pub. It will also allow shareholders to be part owners of the society and help define the strategy and management of the business.
Cooperative and Community Benefit Rules on Community Shares:
The OCPL is a registered society under the co-operative and community benefit societies act 2014. As such it can issue “Community shares” which provide a mechanism for investment in and ownership of this social enterprise. The term community shares refer to non-transferable withdrawable share capital, a form of share capital unique to co-operative and community benefit society legislation. This type of share capital can only be issued by co-operative societies and community benefit societies and has some unique characteristics:
This type of share capital cannot be transferred between people. Instead, the society allows shareholders to withdraw their share capital, subject to terms and conditions that protect the society’s financial security.
The value of shares is fixed and not subject to speculation
Shareholders have only one vote, regardless of the size of their shareholding, so the society is democratic. There is also a limit on personal shareholdings, currently up to £100,000. There is also a limit on the interest paid on share capital, based on the principle that interest should be no more than is sufficient to attract investment.
The membership of OCPL is not currently being extended beyond the Management Committee and therefore shares are currently not being issued as we are currently unable to buy the pub. However, once it is clear that the Storey Arms can be bought the share price will be set based on the following: The amount of money needing to be raised, balanced against wanting the share price to be as low as possible to encourage a high level of membership in OCPL and participation from village residents.
At the time of a share issue a prospectus with details on the issue, and the risks and benefits of share ownership will be provided.
As a share holder what voting rights would I have?
Each Member has only one vote at general meetings, irrespective of the number of shares they own.
I’d like to have more of a say – how can I do that?
By buying a share in the OCPL you can become a member and eligible to vote for and/or present yourself as a candidate to the Management Committee. There will also be meetings held during the year open to all members where you can have your say.
Currently as there is no progress in buying the pub and therefore the membership of the OCPL is being kept at the current Management Committee members. If there is any progress to buying the pub then a much a wider membership will be sought.
Although expanding the formal membership is on hold, if you have thoughts or questions on what the OCPL is trying to do and the approach it is taking please contact one of the Management Committee. You can also raise any issues or concerns about the the Storey Arms with the Parish Council.
What happens if the pub fails?
In the unlikely event that the pub fails, the community would explore options to use the building for alternative community purposes. If this is not possible then all the assets would be sold (ie the building and land), and the proceeds of the sale would be used to repay any debts. Thereafter, shareholders would be repaid and any remaining surplus would be put to community use.
Note that under the rules of the society any 'profit' generated HAS to be used for the benefit of the community. Shareholders cannot be repaid more than the initial price of their shares therefore their value cannot go up but can go down or they can lose all of their value. With the structure we have chosen no individuals can benefit personally from this, only the entire community can benefit. Once we own the building, we believe it is very unlikely that it will ever sold for development.
What happens if negotiations with the current owner fail?
We will not issue more membership shares until we know for sure that we are buying the pub.
The OCPL has currently failed to reach an agreement to buy the pub at a reasonable market price. However, the OCPL has been advised that the money made available through the Section 106 agreement can be retained indefinately by the Parish Council to be used at such time as the pub is sold at a price that can be agreed.
Will I have a say in what happens at the pub? What happens if I don’t like how the business is being run?
Anyone in the village can raise any questions or concerns about the strategy for buying and running the pub with the management committee of the OCPL. Once membership is expanded members will also have a vote at Annual and Special Members Meetings. 12 Members or 10% of all Members (whichever is less) can require the Secretary of OCPL to convene a Special Members Meeting to consider any matter which concerns them.
Once the pub is bought and is running the amount of input that will be possible into its running will depend on the model for running it that is adopted. The OCPL's preferred approach (that has been agreed with the PC) is to lease the pub to a Tenant who will be responsible for the business. They will need to make a profit and will take on the risk if the pub business is not successful. In this model, it will be primarily up to the Tenant landlord to ensure they are providing a good service to the village. Ensuring that the Tenant adheres to the terms of the lease agreement would be the mechanism by which the OCPL would ensure that the pub continues to meet the village's needs.
Will the new Tenant make an excessive profit?
The Tenant would need to run the pub at a profit as it will be their livelihood. It would mean that the business is sustainable and an indication that the pub is being successfully run and is delivering against the needs of the Village Community. As part of the Tenancy Agreement the rent will be set and rent reviews incorporated so that the division of profit between the Tenant and OCPL is fair.
Is there a business plan?
Yes, we have an outline business plan, which was submitted to the Parish Council in support of our application for the 106 funds. This plan will be updated once the purchase price and terms of the purchase are clearer and the model for running the pub is finalised. This updated case will be submitted to the Parish Council to justify the relase of the 106 money for the purchase.
The Tenant will be responsible for development of their own business plan (as this will be their livelihood) which will be reviewed as part of the Tenant selection and lease negotiation process.
With your support and the appointment of the right tenant we firmly believe that the Storey Arms and OCPL will be profitable enterprises able to benefit the village both economically and socially.
Are there restrictions to becoming members?
Members must be aged 18 or above. There is no requirement to be a resident of Osgathorpe and we welcome investors from the wider community and further afield.
I make my own jam and cakes, will the pub interested?
The current plan is to appoint a landlord that will embrace the local community and all that it offers. We would ideally like a pub that can offer more services and products than just being somewhere for a pint and a packet of nuts!
What other services are you hoping the pub will offer?
The primary aim of the OCPL is to save the last pub in the village. If we can buy the pub we would like to make it a community centred pub. A list of possible things we think could be incorporated into it are shown below. However, what is included as a requirement in the tenancy agreement vs what will be left to the Tenant's discretion will have to be negotiated.
Book exchange (although there an excellent one in the phone box!)
Kids play area
Parent and toddler club
After school club
Local interest clubs
Sports teams (darts, netball, squash, football, cricket etc)
Room hire (eg kids parties)
…all suggestions welcome
What is the relationship of the OCPL to the Parish Council?