CAMPAIGNERS have revealed for the first time that they offered to pay over the odds in their bid to buy the Raven Inn at Glazebury as they draw up battle plans in their ongoing campaign to save the historic pub.
With a new planning application submitted to demolish the ancient pub and replace it with a small housing development, The Help save the Raven Inn team are now in a position to reveal some of the attempts that have been made to secure the Raven for the community.
They are also urging as many people as possible to object to this planning application number 2020/37800 via the Warrington Borough Council website, or writing to the council.
The Council has indicated that objections will continue to be accepted, until early next year and campaigners are working to 31st January 2021.
Meanwhile, group spokesperson Peter Sturman has revealed some facts about the group’s campaign to try and save the pub.
He says The Raven was purchased, as a fully operational pub, on 03.06.15 for £275K, by the current owners. The Raven ceased trading in September 2018.
Fixtures and fittings were subsequently removed from the pub.
The Raven was put on the market in July 2019.
On 5th August 2019 the ‘Help save the Raven’ group had the Raven surveyed by an independent Chartered surveyor/valuer who has over 30 years experience in the field.
The Raven, as it stands’ was valued at £230K. An offer was made, at this valuation, plus VAT.
This offer was rejected.
Community pubs are normally purchased using, predominantly, community shares.
Peter explained: “The problem we faced, as a group representing that community, was that it was not correct to ask people to finance a purchase above the current market value.
“There are, however, additional avenues for financing such a venture, therefore we increased our offer to £280K + VAT, representing an offer £5K above what the owners actually paid for a fully functioning pub. Sadly, that was also refused. We asked the agent to ensure that this offer ‘remained on the table’.
“During the summer two local supporters proposed purchasing the Raven, then leasing it back to the community (for no financial gain).
“On 17th June, they made an offer of £325K + VAT, for the Raven. This was also rejected.
“It should be noted that this offer was £50K above what the owners paid for a fully functioning pub and £95K above the market value. It should also be noted, it was impressed upon the agent, this offer would not require mortgage lending, so could be completed very quickly.
“This offer also remains ‘open’.
Peter added: “These revelations drive a coach and horses through the recent planning application, which includes claims such as:
‘there has been little interest in the purchase of this building as it would not be economically viable to carry out this work and continue to run it as a business. The lack of investment in this building, and significant costs associated with any purchase has therefore deterred potential occupiers’.
“The fact is, there have been serious, substantial offers to purchase the Raven, to continue as a pub.
“The Raven has been listed as ‘under offer’ with the agent continually since, at least, the start of December 2019. Indeed it is still so listed. Yet it has not been sold, prior to or to facilitate this current planning application.
“Such a listing, for such a length of time, seems very strange. It is extremely likely to deter any would-be purchasers,” added Peter.
In light of all of the information, the campaign group is now calling upon the developer, Mr Bill Jamison, to withdraw his application to demolish the Raven.
They are also encouraging the owners to engage with their former community to realise a substantial profit for themselves and ensure the preservation of the Raven Inn for future generations.
“All we have ever asked is that the owners engage with and seek to negotiate with us and they can commence negotiations at a minimum profit of £50K!” concluded Peter.
The proposal is for the Demolition of existing public house and construction of seven dwellings with car parking, landscaping and associated works.