The Crown Inn has been at the heart of Fivehead Village and wider community for 500 years, we need it to survive and thrive to keep us together.
Why a community pub in Fivehead?
The owners of the only pub in Fivehead have been trying to sell for years. In the current climate and choosing not to reopen, this is likely to become increasingly difficult. The risk is that the pub will be converted and it will be lost forever. We believe a Village with no pub would be a much sadder place, and fear its loss would mark an irreversible decline in the fortunes of Fivehead.
We have established a Community Benefit Society, and with the help of investment through shares and grants, we will buy The Crown, refurbish it over time and develop the space for other community led activities and services, as well as a pub. We have been overwhelmed at the enthusiasm and support we have received already, but opportunity to do this is unlikely to come again, so we need to give it all we’ve got.
A community pub can only become a reality if the majority of the village wants it and can offer support on many levels: firstly it will need individuals who are prepared to put time and effort into setting up the enterprise and managing the finance etc. Secondly, although the startup money might have to come from grants, in order to secure these we would need financial support from the community in the form of shares. The pub will be staffed by volunteers and possibly by a paid manager or a tenant landlord, once established. Finally we would need customers: enough people have to come in and use the pub to make it work.
It is a major challenge to establish a community business, but once it is under way it tends to remain successful. Co-operative pubs are a fairly recent trend, but most are still trading since the first opened in 2004. The experience for volunteers is also very positive. People can work as much or as little as they like, and many who might otherwise feel isolated can find themselves having an important role in the village. If an attempt to buy The Crown is successful, we ensure the survival of the pub and a permanent focus in the centre of the Village, adaptable to whatever the future may throw at us.
The planning application for change of use to a house was submitted in September 2020; the decision deadline was November 2020, but the District Council are experiencing delays.
The ‘Save our Crown’ group conducted a community survey in October 2020, with a really positive response. See the link below.
The Parish Council successfully registered the pub as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ on 17th November 2020 and as the pub is already on the market, we have 6 months (17th May 2021) to submit our community bid.
In November 2020, we started working with the Plunkett Foundation, whose advice has been invaluable. They are a charity who help rural communities to take ownership of community businesses, ensuring they remain viable.
In January 2021, a draft Shares Prospectus was produced and the community were asked to pledge their intentions to buy shares. We had a huge response with £120,000 pledged to buy shares.
In June 2021 we became a Community Benefit Society, ‘The Crown at Fivehead Community Pub Ltd.
We opened the share purchase in July 2021 and collected over half our pledges within 5 days, but we need to keep going.
‘Save our Crown’ community survey
We have had a fantastic response to the survey which is available via the link below
Save Our Crown