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!