Press Reports

Listed below are transcripts of press coverage for the Coverdale Community Pub and their efforts to save the Forester's Arms

Local pub bought by co-operative

Published in the Darlington & Stockton Times Friday 22nd July 2011

A co-operative set up to purchase a village pub in Coverdale has now achieved the first part of their aim and bought the premises and is now on the look out for a tenant. The Foresters Arms public house in Carlton has now been bought by the Coverdale Community Pub Co-operative for the price of £235,000.

Set up following its closure in January this year, the community group held a series of public meetings in order to invite members to pledge cash for the community purchase of the pub. With no trouble attracting sufficient support in June the Community Pub Co-operative had their offer for the premises accepted by the previous owners. They then set about the task of converting the pledges received into cash. This was done with time to spare and contracts were exchanged. Final completion took place on Thursday July 14th and the pub is now under new management.

Last Sunday the management committe opened the pub for the new owners to inspect the premises. A steady stream of both existing and potential investors came along to inspect their new ?buy? and ask questions concerning the next stage towards the opening of the pub. The co-operative needs a further £100,000 in order to bring the premises up to a standard suitable for business as a going concern.

Local resident Tony Keates an investor in the premises was on hand to look round the Foresters Arms at the open afternoon. He said,? I want the pub to re-open. As a member of CMRA I am passionate about beer. It is a really nice country pub and it is only right that it is re-opened.? In an encouraging sign having looked around the premises several visitors got out their chequebooks and invested there and then. There are also investors from both Belgium and the USA who whilst on holiday heard of the plight.

Chair of Coverdale Community Pub Ltd Management Committee Mr. Raymond Brown said,? We are delighted to have bought the premises. However our next priority is to recruit the right tenant. We also need to raise the cash to complete renovations to the building and bar. If we are going to keep to our plan to re-open the pub by Christmas, just five months away, we have to start work as soon as possible. ? The grade one listed building still appears in good condition, however the previous owners plans to convert part of the premises into accommodation is slightly at odds with the new owners vision.

The management committee is now busy preparing plans for the renovation and recruitment of a tenant. The pub will be need re-furbishing and re-equipping ready for someone to start business. Their plans are for a fully working commercial kitchen as once open the pub intends to serve meals. The main problem is access between the dining area, the bar and kitchen. The tenancy comes with full living accommodation comprising lounge, kitchen, bathroom, and two bedrooms. The pub also has three double rooms and ensuite facilities for the tenant to offer as bed and breakfast.

Applications for potential tenants can be made through the website www.coverdalecommunitypub.co.uk. The closing date is August 12th

Time, just, to turn pledges into pub cash

Published in the Darlington & Stockton Times Friday 1st July 2011

The organising committee trying to buy a community pub is urging people who have pledged support, to invest cash as the deadline for a bid draws nearer.

With less than a week until contracts are to be exchanged for the Foresters Arms, Carlton in Coverdale, the community pub co-operative has raised £160,000 in cash. Following a public meeting, prospective members initially came forward very quickly to invest with £105,000 in the bank after the first week. This is still short of the purchase price.

However, Raymond Brown, Chairman of the management committee, said: " I cannot emphasise enough the urgency there is to turn the pledges of support previously given to us into share applications. We are so close to achieving the first step of our goal, buying the pub. We now have just days to reach our initial target."

The community pub co-operative has until Thursday to raise the cash, and exchange contracts, with a completion date of August 18th. They then have a further amount to find to pay for renovations necessary to open the premises.

Mr Brown added: "If everyone acts soon to return their share application forms, we will all be sitting in the Foresters Arms by Christmas toasting our success."

For further information, or to view or download an application for shares, please visit the pub website www.coverdalecommunitypub.co.uk

Get out your chequebooks!

Published in the Darlington & Stockton Times Friday 24th June 2011

"Get out your chequebooks and we could be open by Christmas" was the message given out at the latest public meeting in Carlton to discuss the community purchase of the Foresters Arms.

With standing room only, a packed gathering in the Coverdale Memorial Hall attracted over 100 people interested in investing in the scheme to buy and run their own village pub.

Mr Raymond Brown chair of the management committee opened proceedings. He explained the evening’s purpose was a chance for the management committee to present their proposals regarding the future purchase, running of and development plans for the community buy out for the licensed premises.

Wasting no time Mr Brown got straight to the point, they needed to move from pledged support to actual cash investment. With a price for the premises agreed with the vendors, the Community Pub Co-operative has until July 7th to raise the cash, and exchange contracts. A completion date of August 18th is anticipated.

Following a brief resume of the progress to date, Mr Brown then introduced the fourteen members of the management committee. They include a retired university professor, several local farmers, a lawyer, and a district councillor.

A comprehensive presentation then followed by several members of the committee. Mr Tony Jones outlined the need for a further amount of cash in addition to the purchase price. A sum of £100,000 was needed to renovate the building to a standard required to open it for business. He emphasised the premises were not in bad shape generally but work was needed particularly on the kitchen area and living accommodation. The work would be divided in to work necessary to open the pub and a future plans phase.

Sir Richard Gardner said once the purchase has been completed, the licensed premises would be leased back to a suitable tenant for a monthly rent. Any prospective tenant will need to present a business plan. They aimed to offer sensible meals at reasonable price.

Following the presentation, questions were taken from the attendees. Some were concerned at the potential spread of the premises and parking problems. One questioned the need to need to serve food at all. The chair and committee were able to reassure all present with their answers and agreed residents would be fully consulted on any plans.

At the end of the meeting all present were given an opportunity document containing a share application form. In line with FSA rules it could not be called a share prospectus. A copy of the document has been sent to all those who pledged support but were unable to attend.

Mr Brown said," We need to act fairly quickly, as there are others in background. I am confident that we will gather sufficient cash to buy the premises.

"Several people have been in contact with us with expressions of interest in running the pub. We are interested in hearing from any potential tenant who has experience in the trade and would like to run the Foresters Arms."

Any potential investor can make an investment from a minimum £500 up to a maximum of £20,000. The rules also state 51% of the shareholders need to be Coverdale residents.Once the purchase is satisfactorily completed the committee plan to hold an open afternoon for members of the cooperative to inspect their newly acquired business premises.

For further information or to view or download the opportunity document and application for shares visit

www.coverdalecommunitypub.co.uk.

Carol Brown and Kevin Utley of the Coverdale Community Pub Co-operative canvassing support

Community run pub in Carlton has moved a step closer

 

Published in the Darlington and Stockton Times Friday 10th June 2011

A proposed community run pub in Carlton has moved a step closer with an offer to buy the premises being accepted by the building’s owners.

Following an application to the FSA the Coverdale Community Pub Co-operative is now in place. The group who wish to purchase the Foresters Arms in Carlton have announced that their offer to the owners of the now closed pub to has been accepted.

Spokesman for the Coverdale Community Pub Management Committee Peter Pearson said “It is good news that our offer has been accepted but there is a great deal of work still to do.”

The group have worked hard to obtain pledges and took advantage of two popular events in the area; the Stables open day at Middleham on Good Friday and the Festival of Food and Drink. The Community Pub Co-operative was able to raise awareness of their quest, and obtain a significant number of further pledges.

Mr Pearson continued "Speed is now of the essence as we have to convert the pledges already made to us into funds in order that we can complete the purchase. We also have to continue to gain more support in order to raise enough money to complete the renovations and re-open the pub."

"There is a lot of information about the way forward that needs to be understood and although we will shortly be making available a comprehensive Opportunity Document that will describe everything in detail, we think that it would be very useful to meet to discuss the issues. “

Interested parties are invited to a meeting on Thursday (June 16th), in the Coverdale Memorial Hall at Carlton, at 8pm.The management committee will present their proposals regarding the way in which they intend to purchase, renovate, and operate the pub.

The news follows the National Park planning committee meeting held in April at which planning permission to change use of part of the pub was refused

The Community Pub Co-operative have not yet raised enough money in pledges to reach their target of £300,000 and are looking for further support. Anyone interested in becoming involved and to pledge support or read the newsletters should visit www.coverdalecommunitypub.co.uk.

 

YDNPA Planning Meeting to turn down planning application for pub

Published in the Darlington & Stockton Times Friday 29th April 2011

A community  pub went a step nearer with the decision of the YDNPA Planning Meeting to turn down a  planning application for the Forrester’s Arms at Carlton in  Coverdale.

The  application was to turn the kitchen, restaurant, and bedroom area of the public  house into housing. A member of the recently formed Coverdale Community Pub  Management Committee Mr Peter Pearson addressed the meeting held at the National  Park Authority Office Bainbridge last week

Mr Pearson  pointed that for the Foresters Arms to be viable as a public house it should  stay as one complete and entire building as it was originally. It also needed to  offer restaurant facilities and letting rooms as well as a thriving  bar.

The community  group made reference to the article in the Darlington and Stockton Times, which  prompted support. They now have an interactive web site up and running have  published two newsletters.

Within 3 weeks  the group have received back 112 pledges from 100 households and have had  £157,500 pledged.

Future plans  for the pub include a drop in coffee shop, a book exchange within the pub,  support for local sports teams, youth activities, and the elderly. They also  plan a definitive history of Coverdale to be written, photographed, and recorded  for future generations.

A spokesman  for the YDNP provided the following statement from the Chairman of the Committee, Graham Dalton,  "The Planning Committee gave a great  deal of thought to this proposal. In the end they were concerned that converting  part of the pub to housing would leave a business that lacked the variety  and flexibility of use to ensure that this important community facility was  retained in the village. As such the proposal would be contrary to Local  Plan Policy which seeks to resist development that would result in the loss  of or have an unacceptable effect on an existing community  facility."

Chair of the  Coverdale Community Pub Management Committee Mr Raymond Brown speaking  following the decision said,“ The future of the Foresters Arms will be secure  with us. We are continuing to receive pledges of support and would like more. I  am pleased with the decision of the planning committee.”

Details of the  plans progress and the group’s newsletters can be found at www.coverdalecommunitypub.co.uk,  along with how to pledge your support.

Pictured above raymond Brown - Chair of the community Pub committee