In July 2017, the current owners of the Three Horseshoes Public House announced their intention to close the premises pending its sale. In response to this the Keep Wistow Flowing (KWF) Steering Group was established to manage a campaign protect the Three Horseshoes from change of use and redevelopment into dwellings. The campaign commenced with a vigorous communication programme involving the creation of a website, Facebook Page and Twitter site. This was used to mobilize the village and gauge support for the campaign through a survey.
The first step was to request that the Three Horseshoes be included in Huntingdonshire District Council’s list of Assets of Community Value providing a measure of protection for 5 years. This was achieved with effect from 2 Oct 17.
Options were then considered for raising the required funding to enable the community to submit a bid iner the right to buy afforded by the ACV. A Community Benefit Society was ultimately ruled out in favour of the more flexible, fully commercial limited company, The Three Horseshoes (Wistow) Ltd. The required funding was identified and a bid was submitted in April 2017.
In October 2017, a “Pop up Pub (PuP)” was established in the Village Hall and was a huge success for the campaign demonstrating a very real need for a place to socialize. The PuP opens on Tuesday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays but with additional days to cover community activities, bank holidays and sporting events. We have Held music nights with local singers Richard Wells and Graham Buxton and together with the Wistow Village Hall committee held Bingo, Music festival with an Abba Tribute Band (almost Abba) and the return of the Wistow Ashes Cricket Day. The last Wednesday of each Month has now become the quiz night for the village.
One the PuP was well established it was recognized by the KWF Steering Group that the management of the PuP as a source of community funding should be separated from the essentially commercial activities The Three Horseshoes (Wistow) Ltd. It was decided that the Keep Wistow Flowing name would continue as a community group to manage the Pop up Pub and The Three Horseshoes (Wistow) Ltd would manage the process of purchase the pub.
While the PuP continues to be a success, it is at times difficult to meet its commitment to the community. While we started with approximately twenty Volunteers to help run the PuP, we are down to around seven or eight and the burden increasingly usually falls on a core of four, particularly Gordon, to keep the doors open. So far, we have managed to stay open but we need more support given the role the PuP has in underpinning the ACV. We must now have a new renewed energetic and enthusiastic group of volunteers to come forward. It is easy to volunteer as we have a website www.keepwistowflowing.pub showing what pub shifts are available. (please follow instructions and we have broken the shifts down into 2-hour slots)
Please see attached report of accounts, Turnover, expenses and working capital for possible improvements to Pop pub and community profits which is community money and can be used on worthwhile community projects subject to community meetings and votes.
The Three Horseshoes (Wistow) Ltd (TTHWL), operating independently from Keep Wistow Flowing (KWF) since May 2018, continues in its efforts to see the Three Horseshoes Pub reopen in Wistow.
The monetary pledges to TTHWL, made by potential investors from the village in February 2018, enabled a purchase offer to be made to the pub’s current owners at the end of the moratorium period granted by the pub’s status as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). When our offer was declined, as it did not meet their expectations, the current owners instructed Christies and Co Commercial Business Agents to market the sale of the pub.
At the meeting of TTHWL potential investors at end of May 2018, which also appointed the five directors, the question of whether we should increase our offer was discussed. TTHWL purchase offer is based on a market rate survey valuation figure of the pub as a closed non-operational business. Together with the purchase offer cost there is the additional cost of undertaking the compliance work now needed for the current Fire, Environmental and Health and Safety regulations as well as the additional cost of any repairs and refurbishments needed to restore the operational viability for a tenant. It was decided, following a vote by TTHWL potential investors, that our purchase price offer would not be increased. The current owners were told of our decision and we respectfully advised them, however, that our offer currently continues to remain open for their consideration.
This market valued offer does register our commitment, a village interest group, to buy the pub, preserves the ACV status of the pub and protects the pub being sold as land for development, especially if the pub remains unsold at the 5yr ACV renewal stage.
The process of securing all the funds that would needed to get the tenant operated pub back up and running, should our offer be accepted, is ongoing. Talks are resuming, after a very busy summer, with one potential major investor. Updates, to the potential investors, on progress or about meetings continues to be via email.
As at the time of writing this article the pub, despite being marketed on the commercial business market for approx. 3 months at a reduced price of £330K, remains unsold. However, we genuinely hope that the current owners will soon receive an offer they can accept or reconsider the THSWL offer, as it will a very happy day for everyone when we see The Three Horseshoes Pub open, once again in Wistow.
The Three Horseshoes (Wistow) Ltd
Now that the Three Horseshoes (Wistow) limited company has been formed we have submitted a bid and secured the ACV on The Three Horseshoes. We have also confirmed this with Huntingdon District Council.
Three Horseshoes (Wistow) Limited will be holding an investors’ meeting on 24th May to appoint five directors and discuss possible further bids for the pub. As we envisaged, this will mean that the Three Horseshoes (Wistow) Limited pub bid project and the Pop-Up-Pub will now operate independently. Keep Wistow Flowing (KWF) will continue to run the Pop-Up-Pub until the Three Horseshoes reopens.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support in getting this far and we hope to make a successful acquisition of the pub soon.
Please check out the latest article in the Hunts Post Newspaper
Please click here to read the article in full