Bevendean Co-op Pub

Bevendean Co-operative Pub
The Community Shares Company advised us when we started to develop our business plan and turned it into a credible business plan which helped convince people that we could make a go of this. It is in part thanks to them that The Bevy will be opening its doors by Xmas 2014!
Bevendean Co-operative Pub

Community pubs are growing in popularity. We were proud to help the UK’s first community-owned estate pub get moving.

Over 30 community pubs have opened in the last decade, with the overwhelming majority in rural communities. Whilst there’s a (mostly hidden) story of deprivation and poverty in the countryside, it’s fair to say that the places leading the community ownership revolution in pubs are full of people with more time, skills and money than the average.

But if that community ownership revolution is to become the norm, it also needs to happen in places where the majority of people live and socialise – urban areas where pub owning companies are increasingly selling assets that have long been in the community for short-term private gain.

The Bevendean Hotel closed on police advice in 2010 leaving 18,000 people on the outskirts of Brighton facing a four-mile journey to the nearest pub. A committed group of activists mobilised and persuaded the East Brighton Trust to buy the pub to save it from developers. The Trust wanted to keep their options open and so ripped out all the fixtures and fittings in the process of converting the upstairs into flats to rent. They then invited applications from potential leaseholders.

The group needed a business plan to get to the bottom of whether a pub could be viable and convince the Trust they were the best option, so we helped draw together figures from other pubs, developed the business case for the pub as a whole and pulled it into a robust business plan which we helped the group present to the Trust.

They were successful in securing the lease but then they faced a second problem. It would now cost around £200,000 to refit the building as a pub again, so the group embarked on a share issue which raised £55,000 from over 600 shareholders, with just £10 needed to buy a share. The group also secured SEIS tax relief, meaning investors could claim back half of their investment if they paid tax.

The pub is in one of the city’s less affluent areas, so the aim of the share issue wasn’t to raise all the money they needed but to demonstrate that the community was really behind having a pub again. Hard cash does that better than any pledge or petition. That meant that when we signposted the group to some grant funding, the commitment shown by the community gave the funders confidence to give an extra £100,000.

The pub refit is almost complete, complemented by volunteer labour and donated furniture and equipment, and we have continued to advise the pub on their governance and legal issues.

The Project
  • When their only pub closed in 2010, Bevendean & Moulescoomb’s 18,000 residents were four miles away from the nearest pub. They needed to convince the East Brighton Trust to award them the lease on the pub to run it as a community enterprise, then raise the capital to refit the pub.

What We Did

  • We helped the group by drafting their business plan that persuaded the Trust to award a lease to the group. They then did a community share issue that raised £55,000 and an additional £20,000 in donations.
  • We advised them of potential grants, which secured an additional £100,000.
  • We’ve continued to provide advice on legal, regulatory and governance issues.

More Information