Together with the Tollerton Community Trust’s new Flying Club, the Parish Council has agreed in principle to purchase the Air Hostess.
Our ambition for 2020 is that the Air Hostess will be owned entirely by the Community, with the Flying Club and the Parish Council each holding a 50% stake in the land and buildings.
The Flying Club has developed an ambitious plan for the future of the Air Hostess based on the views of the community and the commercial choices needed to create a vibrant sustainable pub.
Why do we need the Flying Club?
National policy highlights how Parish Councils can help communities to save important local facilities – especially pubs!
But they can rarely do it on their own…
Through our initial research we identified that most succesful community pubs are those owned by and managed through the Community. A Parish Council is not the best legal body for achieving this and so we worked with the Tollerton Community Trust to set up a new organisation to lead this work.
The Community Trust has set up the Tollerton Flying Club, named to maintain the connection with the pub and wider village heritage.
The development of the Flying Club is being supported through expertise from the Plunkett Foundation, who are providing advice and helped to get the society registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
Why is a community pub important?
For the Parish Council, this has always been a community led project.
In May 2019 the largest ever attendance of Tollerton residents at an Annual Parish Meeting gave us a very clear message – to buy the pub.
In June the Parish Council worked with the Community Trust to consult the community. There were more responses to this than any consultation in the last five years. Again the messages were clear, the community wished the pub to be saved and expected the Parish Council to work towards and fund this.
Can the pub bring benefits for the Community?
The messages from the community in 2019 are consistent with the longer term priorities for Tollerton set by residents in the last two community plans.
The current 2016 – 2028 Tollerton Community Plan has three priorities; one of which is to Protect and Enhance Local Facilities. Of those facilities the first one listed is the Village Pub.
The Parish Council is committed to delivering on the priorities of the Community Plan and registered the Air Hostess as an asset of community value in 2017. This legal protection provided the village with the opportunity to buy the pub and the owners – Everards – have engaged in the process positively throughout.
Once established, if a community pub is succesful it may bring some monies back into community projects such as the Village Fayre and support community engagement through special events, festivals and activities.
Will the Parish Council have an ongoing role?
The management of the pub will be the responsibility of the Flying Club, reporting back to their members and the wider community.
The pub will be run as a business and the Parish Council will not be involved in the day to day running of the Pub – or in the costs of operating the pub.
However as joint owner the Parish Council will be represented on the Flying Club Management Group and will be able to provide additional assurance to the community on the way that things are being managed.
How will the Parish Council fund the purchase?
In 2017 we introduced the Tollerton Development Fund – a dedicated part of the Parish Council budget – set aside to fund improvements such as those in the Tollerton Community Plan.
Last year we used our Development budget to secure over £100,000 of outside funding for improvements at the Open Space. From next year we intend to use the Fund to help pay for the purchase of the Pub.
As a relatively small parish, the Council does not have 100s of thousands tucked away in a bank account. And so following the consultation with residents in the summer, the Parish Council has agreed to use an approved borrowing mechanism – The Public Works Loan Board – to raise its contribution.
The Parish Council will apply for loan of £265,000 to be repaid using some of the Development Budget and through rental income from the Pub. A term of 30 years will be requested to spread the repayments at rate that both the Parish Council and Flying Club can both afford.
Update 5/12/19: The Notice of Intention to Borrow is available to view here.