NOTE THAT PLEDGES HAVE CLOSED ON 17TH SEPTEMBER 2023 – this has been left in the website as an archived page
There are some common questions asked about an offer such as this:
- Why should I buy Shares?
- Who will benefit from this project?
- Is this a good business proposition?
- With the pub closed for 2 years how will you attract trade?
- What if insufficient funds are generated locally to buy The Chequers?
- How will the pub succeed with so little parking?
- What assessment has been made to identify the building condition and work necessary to bring it up to modern standards?
- What will happen to the garden and outbuildings?
- Will RCCBS (Roxwell Chequers Community Business Society) pay a fair price for the pub?
- What about fluctuating interest rates and utility costs?
- Who are the people behind RCCBS and what do they stand to gain?
- How will RCCBS operate?
- Will my shares give me voting rights?
- What are the consequences of purchasing shares and becoming a member of the society?
- Who will run the Pub and make the day-to-day decisions about the business?
- How can I purchase shares in RCCBS?
- Will my investment be eligible for tax relief?
- Can I make a profit on my capital investment?
- Will I receive dividends from my shares?
- What is the difference between “interest and “dividend”?
- Can I donate my dividend to the Society?
- What happens in RCCBS fails?
- Can I get my money back?
- Can I invest on behalf of my children or grandchildren?
- What happens to my shares if I die?
- Loans, grants, donations and legacies
- What if I want further information?
Q1: Why should I buy Shares?
RCCBS needs your investment to secure the long-term future of The Chequers as the pub at the heart of our community. Without sufficient investment from the community, RCCBS will be unable to pursue the proposal and the pub may be lost to the village forever.
Q2: Who will benefit from this project?
The residents of Roxwell will benefit from having an important social amenity secured for future generations, both through the direct provision of services but also because the pub will help to create a stronger, more vibrant and cohesive community in which to live. The pub will also provide employment opportunities for local people. It shall also benefit other nearby hamlets and villages that have already lost their pub, such as Newney Green, Radley Green, Willingale and Good Easter, helping to bring the wider community together. It will also lead to more interest and investment in our community from further afield, including cyclists, ramblers, equestrians and those passing through on leisure or business trips.
Q3: Is this a good business proposition?
RCCBS has undertaken extensive research and procured independent professional advice to verify the financially sustainability of the proposal. It has prepared financial projections based on the strengths and weaknesses of the pub and on industry comparisons. Visits to many other community pubs have aided this process where community groups have been willing to share their experiences and review our proposal. These all indicate that The Chequers will be successful. Community pubs have a remarkable track record of success once established, with virtually 100% surviving. The pub closed in 2021 because its previous owners retired and sold it as a going concern, not because the business failed.
Q4: With the pub being closed for 2 years how will you attract trade?
Our survey of Roxwell Parish earlier this year and subsequent consultation events have identified strong support for the reopening and use of the pub and a willingness to use it more regularly if it offers food. It is important that the pub delivers services relevant to the needs of local people while at the same time becoming a destination pub for surrounding communities including Chelmsford and other centres of population within a short drive or cycle ride.
Q5: What if insufficient funds are generated locally to buy The Chequers?
The proposal is dependent on achieving funds from the community, the Government’s Community Ownership Fund (match funding up to £250,000) and, if necessary, a loan. If these sources do not raise sufficient capital to purchase and refurbish The Chequers, RCCBS will not proceed with an offer.
Q6: How will the pub succeed with so little parking?
The Chequers has never had a big car park, but it is lucky to be the only pub within walking distance of nearly everyone in Roxwell village. We have budgeted to install secure cycle parking to attract more trade from cyclists and encourage those living further out to cycle to the pub in the summer and The Memorial Hall Committee has agreed to cooperate with RCCBS and make the village hall car park available for overflow car parking as much as possible. It is important to note that similarly sized Blackmore supports two pubs, two tea rooms and a local shop, none of which have a large car park.
Q7: What assessment has been made to identify the building condition and work necessary to bring it up to modern standards?
A detailed Building Survey and Planned Maintenance Report has been commissioned from an independent RICS accredited surveyor to cost the work required to restore and maintain the building. Upgrades planned for the pub’s kitchen, trading areas, disability access and environmental performance have been costed by trade contacts and building professionals and they are integral to our business plan.
Q8: What will happen to the garden and outbuildings?
It is anticipated that the garden will be used to provide a secure and attractive outdoor area for customers and their children to complement the pub’s front courtyard space. The outbuildings have potential for additional pub services or alternative community or economic uses in future, such as a cafe or village shop. In the short term we believe it is feasible to create a centre for the sale of local produce from the outbuildings without significant additional upfront investment. Their full potential will be explored fully at a later stage, once the future or the pub is secure.
Q9: Will RCCBS pay a fair price for the Pub?
RCCBS are in negotiations with the current owner and have been informed by surveys undertaken, reports produced and advice from RICS accredited valuers.
Q10: What about fluctuating interest rates and utility costs?
Financial projections include annual increases for utilities and other costs and interest payments on other charges in line with current expectations.
Q11: Who are the people behind RCCBS and what do they stand to gain?
The Steering Group currently consists of a group of local residents. They care keenly about the future of the Pub and about Roxwell. They will also be investing in this share issue. They will have no personal financial interest in the project, above and beyond their own investment in Shares. They have contributed a large amount of time so far at no cost to RCCBS and the project.
Q12: How will RCCBS operate?
RCCBS is bound by its Model Rules for Community Ownership and the requirements of the Financial Conduct Authority.
Q13: Will my shares give me voting rights?
Yes. A Community Benefit Society is an open and democratic organisation. One Member receives one vote on issues determined by shareholders, irrespective of how many Shares that Member has purchased.
Q14: What are the consequences of purchasing shares and becoming a member of the Society?
While shareholders do become Society members there are no requirements for individual members to play a role in the activities of the organisation. You have the right to attend the Society AGM and vote on matters but that is entirely up to individual Society members. Society members can, if they wish, stand for the Management Committee and help take the Society, and the pub, forward.
Q15: Who will run the Pub and make the day-to-day decisions about the business?
The Management Committee will oversee the business of RCCBS. An experienced tenant will be appointed to oversee the running of the Pub, typically on a five-year tenancy. The consequent tenancy agreement will set out the obligations and responsibilities of the tenant and RCCBS. There will be arrangements in place with the tenant to monitor performance against agreed community focused objectives. There will be an open and regular dialogue between the tenant and a member of the Management Committee and the views of members and customers will be actively canvassed by the Committee.
Q16: How can I purchase shares in RCCBS?
If sufficient interest is generated in pledges the RCCBS will publish a Share Purchasing Form to enable purchases to be made.
Q17: Will my investment be eligible for tax relief?
No. This share issue does not qualify for tax relief.
Q18: Can I make a profit on my capital investment?
RCCBS is a Community Benefit Society (CBS), which means that no individual can make a capital gain from their investment. If the assets of the CBS are sold for a profit, any surplus after costs and expenses must be applied to other community causes in the local area. Shareholders can be repaid their initial investment and may receive a modest interest on their capital as a dividend, but this is not an investment for capital gain.
Q19: Will I receive dividends from my shares?
RCCBS will aim to pay modest return on your shareholding, up to a maximum of 5% or 2% above the Bank of England base rate if greater. The Business Plan assumes that these amounts will be paid on shareholdings on an annual basis from year 4 onwards. The payment of dividends will be subject to the business generating sufficient surpluses. Under current tax rules, dividends will be paid gross and it will be each Member’s responsibility to declare such income to HMRC if appropriate. Dividends will not be paid for the first 3 years.
Q20: What is the difference between ‘interest’ and ‘dividend’?
When a return is paid to members, it is legally a dividend, but it is calculated like interest. We expect that these amounts will be treated as interest for tax purposes, however members should seek their own tax advice based on personal circumstances.
Q21: Can I donate my dividend to the Society?
If a member chose to waive any dividend, RCCBS would retain the money and add it to their reserve in support of future activities. This would be an annual decision and members would not be able to reclaim any dividend, donated in this way, retrospectively.
Q22: What happens if RCCBS fails?
You should remember that this is an investment underpinned by freehold property. Should the underlying business fail, all assets, including the freehold of the land and building, would be sold and the proceeds of the sale (after paying any creditors) divided between the shareholders up to the value of their shares. If we are successful in obtaining funding from the COF, it is likely that the government would retain a charge on the building to recoup their investment if the property was sold within 7 years.
Any surplus would have to be paid to a charitable or community body in line with the Rules of the Society. This share offer is first and foremost an investment in your community. The investment is unregulated and not covered by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. There is no right of access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme nor to the Financial Ombudsman.
Q23: Can I get my money back?
You will be unable to withdraw your Shares for the first three years after purchase. Thereafter you will need to give at least three months’ notice of your wish to withdraw Shares. Shares can neither be sold nor transferred to someone else. Withdrawals must be funded from surpluses generated by the business or from new Share capital raised from members. The Management Committee in its consideration for withdrawals will take into account the long-term interests of the Society, its need to maintain adequate reserves, and RCCBS’s commitment to community benefit.
Q24: Can I invest on behalf of my children or grandchildren?
Yes, so long as you are a member in your own right and provided that the total amount invested does not exceed the maximum investment amount. You will only have one vote, as is the case for all members. The share can be transferred to nominated children or grandchildren when they reach 18 years of age, at which point they will get a vote.
Q25: What happens to my shares if I die?
Your shares will form part of your inheritance and can be transferred under the terms of your will. When buying your shares, you can confirm who you would like them transferred to upon your death or if you would like them to be surrendered to the Society as a donation.
Q26: Loans, Grants, Donations and Legacies:
Subject to the success of the share offer, loans secured on the property plus further grants may be sought. In addition, donations and legacies are an important source of potential funding: individuals or organisations may wish to make a donation or legacy to the Society. Such engagement would be welcome so please contact us if you wish to discuss the legacy option.
This project is a unique opportunity to leave a legacy for the benefit of the whole village.
Q27: If I want more information?
There are a number of ways to get more information:
- You can write to us at: roxwellchequersCBS@gmail.com to ask any questions or to be added to the mailing list
- You can ask a question on our Facebook Group
- Visit one of our ‘drop-in’ events. Further details will appear on this website and sent out via our email list. We plan to hold these on the following dates:
- Tuesday 15th August – 6pm-9pm – Roxwell Memorial Hall
- Wednesday 23rd August – 8pm (TBC) – Virtual event via Zoom (details to sign up to follow)
- Thursday 31st August – 6pm-9pm – Roxwell Reading Room