Our plan to ‘Save our Crown’

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 being unable to reopen, this is likely to become increasingly difficult.  The risk is that the pub will be converted at some point in the future to residential use. 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.

The proposal

Our plan is to set up a community owned business, a Community Benefit Society, and with the help of investment through shares and grants, to buy The Crown. We will refurbish it over time and will develop the space for other community led activities or services as well.  In order to begin to plan we need to have a clear idea of the demand in the village for this facility and of people’s willingness to support it. The opportunity to do this is unlikely to come again.

The challenge

A community pub can only become a reality if a 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 majority of the startup money might have to come from long-term public works loans and grants, in order to secure these we would need some financial support from the community in the form of shares. The pub could be staffed by volunteers or ideally by a paid manager or a tenant landlord.  However, it may be that it would still need a large number of volunteers prepared to offer a few hours here and there to share the staffing. Finally we would need customers: enough people have to come in and use the pub to make it work.

The benefits

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 100% 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 timeline

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 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 £110,000 pledged to buy shares and £20,000 in loans.

We will need to secure further funding, so if you would like to help, please let us know:

‘Save our Crown’ community survey

We have had a fantastic response to the survey which is available via the link below

Useful Links

Plunkett Foundation

CAMRA

Royal Oak, Stoke St Gregory – Heart of the Village

Registering a pub as a community asset

The Crown Inn sales particulars

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