Save The Red Lion Campaign Patrons

  • Sidbury Community Enterprises' community share offer launched to buy the Red Lion
  • Save The Red Lion Campaign Patrons - Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP & The Reverend Susie Williams
  • Campaign's company - Sidbury Community Enterprises - has made an offer to buy the Red Lion
  • East Devon District Council has listed the Red Lion pub as an Asset of Community Value - a significant Campaign milestone

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Another Successful Pub Campaign

As Save The Red Lion Campaign continues to develop its business plan for a future Red Lion business and works out how much funding it will need to raise, we keep an eye on what other pub campaign groups are up to, and often take heart from their endeavours.
Our trusty Publican’s Morning Advertiser has just carried a story “Northampton residents raise £100,000 to save local pub”. The Charwelton Community Pub and Shop Co-operative is looking to raise £147,000 and within three weeks had managed to raise the substantial sum of £100,000. That’s no mean effort!
This story is yet another example of how a local community has come together to raise money to save their pub. Save The Red Lion Campaign expects to be treading a similar path, probably early next year.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Campaign Newsletter Delivery Across Sidbury

Over the weekend members of Save The Red Lion Campaign started the task of delivering a newsletter to properties across Sidbury. The newsletter updates residents on the progress of the Campaign & its next important steps.
The newsletter also invites residents to complete & return a questionnaire which seeks their views about what sort of uses the Red Lion could be put to as a community pub. Residents are also invited to register their interest in potentially becoming shareholders in a future Red Lion business.
Deliveries of the newsletter will continue during the week.
Copies of the newsletter, along with the future pub questionnaire & the share interst form can all be downloaded at –

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Campaign Success Hits The Front Page!

Save The Red Lion Campaign hits the front page! Today’s edition of Pulman’s View from Sidmouth has, as its lead story on its front page, a report of the Campaign receiving its significant grant funding.
Under the heading “Pub campaign moves up a gear thanks to 10k government grant” it reports on the campaign’s latest success.
The story can be accessed at –

Monday, 28 October 2013

Campaign Blog Reaches 6,000 Hits!

Thank you to everyone who has visited this site since we set it up earlier this year.
As the blog reached the point where we had received 6,000 hits today this is a snapshot of the data behind that number -
Pageviews today

Pageviews yesterday

Pageviews last month

Pageviews all time history

Pageviews by Browsers
Internet Explorer
80 (41%)
41 (21%)
38 (19%)
19 (9%)
6 (3%)
Mobile Safari
6 (3%)
3 (1%)
1 (<1%)
1 (<1

Pageviews by Operating Systems
129 (66%)
20 (10%)
13 (6%)
12 (6%)
11 (5%)
10 (5%)

Pageviews by Countries
United Kingdom
United States

Campaign Passes Second Significant Milestone - Receives Funding Grant

Save The Red Lion Campaign has now past its second significant milestone! It has now been awarded a £10,000 grant from a government body which it will use to undertake the next set of important work that it needs to do in order to move towards making an offer for the Red Lion and completing its business plan for a future Red Lion business.

In preparation for making an offer to buy the Red Lion the Campaign has been working on developing a viable business plan. Until now the Campaign has been restricted in what progress it can make in detailing its business plan as it has yet to find out how much it believes the pub is actually worth, and how much it would cost to repair and upgrade the building. These are key pieces of financial information that the Campaign now requires.

The Campaign is pleased to announce that it can now progress to having the pub professionally surveyed and valued. It can now undertake this important set of activities as it has successfully applied for, and had approved, a pre-feasibility grant of £10,000 from the government funded Social Investment Board.

The approval of this grant is a significant second milestone for the Campaign, following on from it having successfully persuaded East Devon District Council to list the Red Lion as an Asset of Community Value.

The grant, will allow the Campaign to undertake pre-feasibility work in order to engage professional advisers to, amongst other things –
Ø  have the pub valued.
Ø  obtain a full building condition survey, including undertaking technical due diligence.
Ø  cost the work required to repair and upgrade the pub.
Ø  register an Industrial & Provident Society limited company to purchase and own the pub.

The Campaign is anticipating that within the next fortnight it will obtain registration from the Financial Conduct Authority of its Industrial & Provident Society limited company.

Fred Burnett, Chair of Save The Red Lion Campaign, said “Receiving this significant grant from the government’s Social Investment Board comes just at the right time for the Campaign. We have recently opened up a dialogue with the pub’s owner, Punch Taverns, and work is progressing well on developing a business plan for a future Red Lion business. However, to complete this, the Campaign needs to know what the pub is realistically worth, as opposed to what the owner wants for it, as well as how much money would need to be spent on repairing and upgrading the building.

The Campaign has received the maximum pre-feasibility grant that the Social Investment Board can award which I believe demonstrates the strength of the case that the Campaign made for this sizeable financial support. We can now move our work up a gear or two”.

The next couple of months will see the Campaign fully understanding what the financial outlook for a future Red Lion business will look like.

Sidmouth Herald's Latest Campaign Article

Last Friday’s Sidmouth Herald’s latest reporting of the Campaign (page 10) in its 25 October edition can be accessed at –

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Celebrating A CAMRA Campaign Success

Thanks to the CAMRA website for this story that has an impact on all pubs -
CAMRA officially launched new celebration material at a popular parliamentary pub event last week that thanked MPs and Ministers who made a difference by the scrapping of the beer duty escalator. 
The celebration, which took place in the Red Lion pub, attracted over 40 people including Ministers Sajid Javid, Brandon Lewis, Eric Pickles, and CAMRA directors who fought against what MP Andrew Griffiths claims was “the hated beer duty escalator”.
The beer tax campaign headed by CAMRA aimed to abolish the beer duty escalator which would push tax up by 2 percent.
At this year’s budget, the Chancellor axed the plans and announced a 1p cut in beer duty, the first time beer duty has been cut since 1959.
Jackie Parker, a CAMRA Director, described the campaign as “a fight to save our great British pint”.
Campaigning included gaining 109,100 signatures to reach the necessary figure for a Parliamentary debate, and volunteers who joined at CAMRA’s first mass lobby condemning the beer duty escalator.
Jackie took the opportunity to thank the MPs “for the very positive way in which they engaged with and supported the campaign.
“We should all be very proud of our collective achievement”, she added. The efforts of those involved were also echoed by Chief Executive Mike Benner and MP Andrew Griffiths who stated that: “We should not underestimate what we achieved in scrapping that beer duty escalator. We should pay thanks to organisations such as SIBA and the British Beer and Pub Association that worked so hard in delivering this.
"We should thank all Members of Parliament across all sides of the house who worked together unified because they recognised the damage the beer duty escalator was having on pubs and brewers in their constituencies." 
Mike concluded that: “This is a win-win situation for everyone.
"We did it and we made a difference". 
The celebratory event which allowed MPs, Ministers, and members of CAMRA to enjoy their efforts to scrap the beer duty escalator also kick-started further plans ahead of next year’s budget to ensure the government continue to support local pubs through freezing beer duty.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Today's Sidmouth Herald Campaign Report

Today’s Sidmouth Herald carries the latest on the Campaign on page 10 under the heading “Save The Red Lion campaign gathers pace”.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

An Asset Of Community Value To Be Compulsory Purchased?

A battle is going on in the London Borough of Hackney over the Chesham Arms pub. Having won a victory to get the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) the Save the Chesham campaign group recently had to put their case to a local tribunal when the owner of the pub appealed the local council’s decision to award it the ACV listing.
The campaigners won the appeal and so the pub remains ACV listed. But that’s not where this story ends. The campaigners are worried that the pub owner will not sell the pub, which is already closed, but will just hang on to it. After all he wants to turn the property into flats.
The campaigners are now lobbying the council to try to get it to compulsory purchase the pub. Now that would be interesting! Good luck to the Save the Chesham campaign.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Today's Pulman's View Campaign Report

Tuesday’s edition of Pulman’s View from Sidmouth carries a report on the meeting that Save The Red Lion Campaign representatives held last Thursday with Representatives from Punch Taverns & its estate agent Jones Lang laSalle.

The report is on page 4 of Pulman’s View under the heading “Campaigners meet with pub owners”. The article can be read at –

Thanks to Pulman’s View for their continuing interest in our story.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Express & Echo Report Advance Notice!

We understand that this week’s edition of the Express & Echo will be reporting on the last week’s meeting between Save The Red Lion Campaign representatives & Punch Taverns.
Look out for it on Thursday morning!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Food For Thought From Sunday Times

Yesterday’s Sunday Times Magazine carried an informative & interesting article about the current trend within the pub trade to for pubs to upgrade to being gastropubs. Experience shows that there are, as in all things in life, good & less good gastropubs. Gastropubs have their place & you have to be very careful where that is.
We were particularly struck by the reference in the article to the cost difference for purchasing, as an illustrative example, a barrel of Heineken export (if that’s your tipple) for a tied pub as opposed to a free house. The example given explained that a tied pub probably would have to pay around £450 for a barrel, whereas a free house could buy the same barrel for around £200.
That means to make the same margin on a pint the tied pub has to charge an extra £0.87 a pint! Put the other way a free house could charge the same price per pint to their customer & make just under a pound more profit per pint!
The article also highlighted the potential margins that there were on food, nibbles, soft drinks, spirits, coffee & cocktails.
All food for thought, even if you aren’t looking to create a gastropub!

Friday, 18 October 2013

We Are All Around The World!

Odd! But a compelling part of running a blog is tracking where people who follow you are doing it from. In the past week the countries, outside of the UK, where visitors to this blog have viewed us from are -
United States

Wherever visitors to this blog are from – welcome, keep supporting our Campaign!

Constructive Meeting With Punch Taverns

Yesterday representatives from Save The Red Lion Campaign’s Steering Group met with Richard Tole (PunchTaverns, Senior Estates Development Manager), John Kinsey (Jones Lang laSalle, National Director) & Michael Easton (Jones Lang laSalle, Associate Director) to hold initial discussions about the sale of the Red Lion. Jones Lang laSalle is the estate agent that has been instructed to sell the Red Lion.
Some of the key points that arose out of our constructive discussions included -
Punch Taverns confirmed that the Red Lion is up for sale, not because it is not a viable business (despite what Punch Taverns have said publicly), but rather because, like many other of its pubs it has not delivered profits at an appropriate level that works for it.
Punch Taverns have currently taken the pub off the market to allow the Campaign the opportunity to put a financial package together. Punch Taverns confirmed that it did not take the pub off the market due to any actions taken by the Campaign, but solely for commercial reasons.
It was put to Punch Taverns that in effect the Campaign was the only likely purchaser given that there had been no realistic interest shown in the pub whilst it had been on the market.  Punch Taverns were urged to recognise this point & negotiate a realistic price for the pub with the Campaign
It was put to Punch Taverns that if it was to facilitate a straight forward sale to us at the right price then it could benefit from good local publicity, which could be commercially useful to it bearing in mind that it owns other pubs in the locality.
Discussions took place around how Punch Taverns could assist the Campaign in trying to attract potential a future tenant (if that was what it decided was to be its future management arrangements for the pub). Jones Lang laSalle also offered to assist the Campaign in developing its business plan or any other matter that would facilitate it fully understanding a future Red Lion business’s commercial costs.
By the end of the meeting Punch Taverns had sought to reassure the Campaign that it was willing to work with it to see if both parties could reach a point where an offer from the Campaign could be taken to its Board with a recommendation to conclude a deal.
The meeting concluded on a positive note with Punch Taverns assuring the Campaign that it would work with it to try to achieve a mutually agreed sale. To this end Punch Taverns offered to meet with Campaign representatives again at a date that was helpful to the Campaign.
The meeting was an extremely helpful one and the campaign looks forward to working with Punch Taverns to conclude a mutually agreeable outcome for the future of the Red Lion.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Off To Meet Punch Taverns

Campaign representatives are due to meet Punch Taverns & its local estate agent Jones Lang laSalle this lunchtime.
It will be interesting to see how they approach the discussions as they have come across somewhat lukewarm to the entreaties of the Campaign so far.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Campaign Creates Company To Buy Red Lion

In order to purchase the Red Lion pub the Campaign needs to establish a company which would own the property. On 14 September the Steering Group agreed to establish a limited company. The company, because it wants to be rooted in & representative of the community’s interests whilst being a commercial entity, will also be effectively a co-operative operating for the benefit of the community. The company will be registered under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act 1965.

At the Steering Group meeting on 5 October the Steering Group agreed the Rules for the company which are based on Model Rules promoted by the Campaign’s adviser the Plunkett Foundation. These Rules now have to be approved by the body that regulates Industrial & Provident Societies, the Financial Conduct Authority.

It is anticipated that the FCA will take up to 4 weeks to agree to register the company at which point it can start trading. The full details & the name of the company will be announced once the FCA has registered it. It would be this company that would the organisation which could potentially become the next owner of the Red Lion.

The establishment of the company will be yet another significant milestone in the Campaign’s attempts to purchase the pub.

If you think that you might be interested in investing in the future Red Lion business please complete & return the share interest form. It can be returned to any of the addresses on the form or to the Campaign email

 The share interest form is available at -

or click the link on the right hand side of this blog’s home page.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Getting Punch Taverns To The Table

Save The Red Lion Campaign was expecting Punch Taverns to welcome the opportunity to deal reasonably & in good faith, particularly once it had secured the listing of the Red Lion as an Asset of Community Value. This listing meant that for 6 months from the date of the listing on 10 September no one else could purchase the pub whilst the Campaign was formal seeking to do the same.

However, immediately after the listing was declared the estate agents that Punch Taverns had instructed back in April to sell the pub informed the Campaign that no offers would be considered until 6 months & 1 day from the date of listing & that any bids would be best & final offers from anyone interested in purchasing the pub.

This effectively put two fingers up to the Campaign & gave the clear indication that it was not prepared to negotiate with the Campaign over the potential sale of the pub at any point whilst it was legally the only potential purchaser.

Why did Punch Taverns do this? Presumably the Campaign’s successful listing of the pub upset it. But why would this be? Presumably because by securing the listing it narrows the possible uses that the property can be put to for the next 5 years. Punch Taverns must believe that this reduces their opportunity to find a purchaser.

You would think that having had no one show any significant interest in the pub whilst it was on the market from April, that Punch Taverns would welcome the opportunity to discuss the possible sale of the pub to anyone, including the Campaign.

Well, it looks as if that might now happen. But not without having had to struggle to get Punch Taverns attention.

The estate agents were reluctant to put the Campaign in touch with Punch Taverns and so we pursued both Punch Taverns (and some of their senior Executives) & the estate agents on Twitter. We then issued a press release expressing dismay at Punch Taverns’ attitude to us. We even wrote directly to Punch Taverns’ Chief Operating Officer Neil Griffiths asking to meet with representatives of Punch Taverns.

By now we had Punch Taverns attention & within a couple of days we were trying to co-ordinate diaries to hold a meeting.

On 17 October representatives of the Campaign will now be meeting Punch Tavern’s Senior Estates Development Manager, as well as a Director & an Associate Director of the estate agents Jones Lang laSalle. This will be the first opportunity that the Campaign will have had to discuss the potential purchase of the pub.  Plus ca change!

Watch this space!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Today's Sidmouth Herald Campaign Article

On page 15 of today’s Sidmouth Herald, under the heading “Pickles backs Red Lion campaign”, it carries the story that Secretary of State Eric Pickles has given his backing to Save The Red Lion Campaign’s efforts to purchase the pub for the community.

The Herald’s article can be read at –

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Campaign Uses Project Plan To Get Things Moving

The Campaign should know very soon if it has secured a £10,000 grant from the government to start the process of looking at the feasibility of creating a viable business plan & working out the costs associated with creating a successful venture out of the Red Lion.

The Campaign will be using this funding to undertake a range of necessary activities which will include –
o   surveying & valuing the Red Lion
o   obtaining upgrade designs & quotes
o   developing a viable business plan,
o   accessing capital grant funding & capital loans
o   preparing & launching a share prospectus

The Campaign Steering Group has an agreed Project Plan within which it has now established a number of Workstreams which will concentrate over the forthcoming months on the detailed work of pulling together a viable business for the future. Each Workstream has a specific Steering Group member who is responsible for driving forward the activities within each one.

The next few months will be a busy time for the Steering Group as it determinedly watches the clock that is ticking away whilst the campaign has the legal opportunity to seek to purchase the Red Lion without any other potential purchasers being able to do so

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Greg Mulholland MP Takes Pubco Fight To Parliament

There is much criticism about how these pubcos operate often leading to tenants paying above market rents & customers paying inflated beer prices. Greg Mulholland wants to use the opportunity of having an Early Day Motion on the matter debated in Parliament to highlight the problems of pubcos.

The Early Day Motion that he has tabled for debate has the support of 152 MPs. This is a large number of MPs signing up to support an issue that an MP has highlighted for debate. The Early Day Motion, which is written in unique Parliamentary style is -

That this House welcomes the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign supported by the Federation of Small Businesses, Forum of Private Business, the Campaign for Real Ale, Guild of Master Victuallers, Fair Pint, Licensees Supporting Licensees, Pubs Advisory Service, Justice for Licensees and Licensees Unite calling for a fair deal for licensees tied to large pub companies; further welcomes the Government's commitment to introduce a statutory code of practice to enshrine principles of fair dealing and that tied licensees should not be worse off than free of tie licensees; notes that large companies take more than is fair or sustainable from pub profits in both inflated product prices and excessive rents, causing failure of pub businesses nationwide; believes that to deliver the Government's commitment the code must include an option for tied landlords of large companies to pay an independently assessed market rent only to their pub owning company and that this should be offered alongside tied agreements; further notes that this solution was put forward by the former Business and Enterprise Committee, and now by the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, with unanimous cross-party support of Committee members; further believes that this would deliver a fair and positive business relationship between large pub companies and their licensees, resulting in a thriving pub sector which would boost the economy; supports the commitment to exclude family brewers by applying the code to companies that own more than 500 pubs; and urges the Government to implement this to secure a sustainable future for Britain's pubs.

This story about this is reported in today’s Publican’s Morning Advertiser -

The Red Lion pub that Save The Red Lion Campaign is seeking to retain & purchase for the community has been owned by a pubco – Punch Taverns – for a good few years now. You have to ask yourself have the customers benefited from their ownership? Are the beer prices competitive? Has there been any meaningful investment made in the property?

You know the answers to these questions only too well unfortunately! Look out for reports on Greg Mulholland’s Early Day Motion. It’s another step in the campaign to get them reformed.