Questions and Answers

This section will hopefully answer quite a few questions that you may have about the project. Many of them are here because we have actually been asked the question already; others are answers to further questions that we thought might well be asked. We plan to add to the list as necessary ias the project progresses.


Why did the pub shut down?
The Kings Head had an extended period of success as a busy village pub. However, in recent times there have been several tenancies all of which have ended for multiple different reasons. Our belief is that the underlying need for the pub remains and a community venture could result in a successful operation.

If the pub wasn’t profitable before it shut, why would it be different now?
We will set a fair rent and agree a lease with the tenant who will run the pub as a free house selling food and drink. The rent will be set at a level that gives the tenant the opportunity and incentive to run a profitable pub business. We anticipate a range of services will be offered to form additional revenue streams. We also anticipate some level of community support in the running and maintenance of the pub.

How much will the pub cost to buy, refurbish and get running?
The pub is on the market at an asking price of £625,000 and depending on the professional survey and valuation there will be additional costs to get the business up and running again. We would of course enter into negotiations once we are in a position to make an offer to purchase the pub.

Where will the money required be raised from?
The money will be raised through a combination of community shares, commercial loan(s) and Plunkett funding to bridge to the full figure required to buy, refurbish and get the pub up and running.

We already have a pub in the village, why do we need another?
Around the last millennium, the closing of the White Hart reduced Whiteparish's previous count of four pubs pubs to three. Then, in 2014/15, the unexpected combination of the closure of the King's Head and the loss of the Fountain Inn to residential use saw that number crash down to just one. We strongly believe that Whiteparish could still support two pubs, providing customers with a choice of ambiance and facilities. It is our intention to provide a range of services that will specifically benefit the wider community.

Will the Parish Lantern be affected by the King’s Head re-opening?
It is our intention to differentiate from the Parish Lantern and ensure that both pubs can be sustained. See also above.

Has the group compiled a business case?
We have put together a basic business case but this will be expanded into a full business plan as part of the next stage if the community confirms its interest in re-opening the pub. The Plunkett Foundation can support us in building this business plan and there are examples from other ‘more than a pub’ schemes supported by Plunkett that we can use for reference. (For more information on the Plunkett Foundation, see also our Plunkett page and/or http://www.plunkett.co.uk.)

When would you plan to re-open the pub?
There is no firm date to open the pub but it would be a number of months before we could be ready to re-open.

Who will run the pub?
A tenant would need to be found through an interview process who would take responsibility for the day to day management of the pub on behalf of the Community Benefit Society (CBS) we would set up. The CBS would still be responsible for the property and the overall running of the business.

Will the community get a say in the facilities offered by the pub?
Yes, this is the primary reason for the questionnaire.

Does the support group financially benefit from re-opening the pub?
There is no financial benefit for the support group. The individuals involved in this initiative are giving their time entirely for free and have spent many hours getting to this point.

Who are the Plunkett foundation and what do they do?
The Plunkett Foundation 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. See also our Plunkett page and/or http://www.plunkett.co.uk.

Why do we need to involve the Plunkett Foundation?
The Plunkett foundation provide a framework for a community funded purchase of the pub. They provide the basis for a Community Benefit Scheme (CBS) which is a legal entity recognized by the FCA. They have also successfully supported around 40 similar ventures and there are many more they’re involved in.

If I make a financial pledge, is it legally binding?
No, the pledge is the mechanism we’re using to understand who might be willing to help fund the purchase and if this would be sufficient to move forward. We will ask for your contact details so we can keep you informed and so you can make a decision about investment when shares are available. We would anticipate that the majority of people who make a pledge would convert this into a shareholding.

When can I make a donation or shareholder payment?
You can make a small personal donation at any point as we are expending money now to get things moving. However, we need to set up a legal entity (CBS) before we can officially accept any contributions and we need to set up a legal share scheme before anyone can purchase a shareholding.

What happens if I want to cash in my share?
We anticipate shares will be bought for a minimum period of 3 to 5 years. It will be the target of the elected committee to produce a modest return after the first year, dependent on the success of the venture. At the end of the minimum period an application may be made, giving 6 months notice, to cash in shares. Note that the share price is fixed and does not increase. Share purchases are intended to be a long term investment for the benefit of the individual and the community.

Is my investment safe?
If the pub is not successful in the longer term the ‘bricks and mortar’ will be of value and the property can be sold. This helps protect the money that individuals contribute in the form of shares and would allow any loans to be paid back.

Will I receive a share in profits if I’m a shareholder?
The society will return interest on money invested to shareholders provided the business is profitable and achieving a surplus in funds. The overriding priority is to ensure the pub is well managed and continues to operate as intended.

Have you determined a share value?
We anticipate a share value of £50 with a minimum purchase of 5 shares i.e. £250 minimum investment.

How many shares will be issued?
This will be dependent on the price of the pub and the cost of refurbishment and working capital required to open the pub.

How many shares can I purchase?
You can purchase a minimum of 5 shares (£250) to a maximum of 400,000 (£100,000).

If I invested £250 in shares, how many votes would I have at an AGM?
Community benefit societies are by law intended to be democratic organisations, and all members will have an equal vote, regardless of the size of their shareholding, and will have the protection of limited liability. In other words you will have a single vote.

If I invested £100,000 in shares, how many votes would I have at an AGM?
As above you will have a single vote.

Can I purchase shares for members of my family?
Shares will need to be in the name of the owner of the investment. However, we will look at how this can be accommodated within the CBS rules.

Can I include shares as part of my estate in my will?
We don’t know the answer at this point but will investigate if this is important to potential shareholders.

Will VAT be charged on the purchase price of the pub?
We understand VAT will not be charged but stamp duty will.

What will be the legal structure of the business?
The business will be set up as a Community Benefit Society. See also our page or a fuller description on the Plunkett website.

Have you ruled out the possibility of finding a single investor to buy the pub?
No, but we can’t sit on our hands and wait.

Are the current owners involved in this venture?
No, this is a community initiative to purchase the pub from the current owners.

If the community purchases the pub what will they own?
The community will own the freehold, which includes the pub, associated builds and land.


Who We Are

The King's Head Community Group are a collection of people living in or near Whiteparish, Wilts, who all share a common concern: that the much-loved King's Head (currently closed) should be saved from being sold as a private residence and should re-open as a pub–if possible a community-owned one–and resume its proper role as a Whiteparish institution!