Download our business plan here

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the aim of the Hull Community Pub Society?

We are a group of Hull-based pub enthusiasts who are keen on preserving Hull’s traditional pubs. We want to open Hull’s first community-owned, community-ran pub. Owned by the people and operated for the benefit of the people, not to make profits for landlords or pub companies.  

Why bother trying to save a pub when so many are closing?

There has been a lot in the media about 2 pubs a day closing.   Some of these closures are probably unavoidable but there is also something inherently unsustainable about the pub model in the UK.   When breweries and pub companies own pubs they expect to make money.   They lease the pubs to Landlords who also have to make a living.  The pub companies make money by charging the Landlords rent and by requiring landlords to buy their products from them at a high mark up.  This makes life very hard for landlords trying to make a decent living, even if the pub is doing OK.   A community owned pub doesn’t pay rent and operates a ‘free house’ so the landlord or manager can buy the best products at the best price.  The people working in the pub need to be paid properly, but the community don’t expect a profit, they just expect a well run and affordable place that they and their neighbours can enjoy.

What is an Asset of Community Value?

Assets of Community Value (ACVs) were created as part of the Localism Act 2011.  Communities can nominate land or buildings that are important to them.  If the council confirm the nomination the land or building is added to the ACV register.   If the owners of the land/building decide to sell it they must first give the community the chance to raise funds and make them an offer (known as the moratorium period).  The local planning authority can take the ACV status into account if the owners try to change the use of the building to prevent the community using it.

The owners are saying it is not for sale, why are you trying to buy The New Clarence?

The owners are currently saying that the pub is not for sale.  They offered to sell it to the community in September 2023 and in October they initiated the moratorium period of the ACV, which gave the community 6 months to raise funds and make them a bid.   We wouldn't have started fundraising if the owners hadn't offered to sell it and hadn't initiated the moratorium period.   We are offering them what they asked for it which is more than they paid for it.

The owners have suggested that we buy another pub.  We can't do this, even if we wanted to, because all the money we have raised is specifically for The New Clarence ACV.

The owners are saying that they are going to save The New Clarence, why aren't you supporting them?

We did say that we would support the owners if they kept The New Clarence open but we believe that in order for it to be a sustainable pub it needs all its features (including a cellar, a full kitchen, attractive function room and a landlords flat for the manager/tenant to live in) in place.

The owners have applied for the 1st and 2nd floors of the building to be a 20 bedroom HMO and for the ground floor to continue to be a pub.   In order to fit the 20 bedrooms upstairs they have removed the landlords flat and the function room.   They are proposing to put the function room where the cellar and kitchen used to be at the back of the pub (an area which has no windows).   They say the kitchen can be accommodated in what used to be the glass washing area.   The plans have no cellar.  The plans have a 19sqm space where bins and 20 cycles for the HMO residents are to be stored together.    The HMO would have a fire escape running through the pub part of the building.

We do not think that what they are proposing is sustainable as a pub and we are concerned that if permission is granted for the mixed us there is a good chance that the pub will fail and the whole building will become an HMO.  They are appealing the decision to refuse the pub becoming a 29 bedroom HMO which we think sends a clear message that they still intend for the whole building to become residential.

What is the legal structure of the group that is trying to save The New Clarence?

We began as an informal group of former regulars, we created a not for profit limited liability company in 2023 for sake of expediency as we had to move quickly. We soon realised that the best structure for a non-profit organisation was to become a Community Benefit Society (CBS) so in late 2023 we began the legal process to convert the existing company (Hull Community Pub Ltd) into a Community Benefit Society.  The Society is called The Hull Community Pub Society Ltd.  In February 2024 we will be doing a share issue so that anyone who wants to be a part-owner of the pub will be able to Buy shares and join the Society.

The Society will be run on co-operative principles and that means that however many shares you own you only get one vote.   In some cases, for the sake of affordability, we will let people club together to buy a share. If two people own one joint share they only get one vote between them.

Which pub is the group aiming to purchase?

The group is aiming to buy The New Clarence on Charles Street in Hull.

Why The New Clarence?

The New Clarence is the only pub in Hull that has been designated as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by the Council. This means that a dedicated group of regulars were worried that it was at risk of being lost as a pub and nominated it for ACV status. This is what stopped it from being turned into a 29 bedroom house by the Council in 2023. The group of former locals nominated it because it was a great place to be. It is also in the city centre with a good kitchen and function room and is wheelchair accessible so it is one of the most inclusive pubs in the city. 

How will this purchase be funded?

The funds to purchase the pub will be raised in 3 ways: 1) a share offer  where members of the public, businesses, investors and interested parties can buy shares in the Hull Community Pub Society. 2) Grants, including from the Community Ownership Fund. 3) Donations – individuals and businesses wishing to support the project can simply make a donation rather than buying a share.

How much money are you aiming to raise?

We are aiming to raise £250k to purchase the building and a further £250k to renovate the building in accordance with the group’s vision for the pub. This will include compliance with all legal and planning requirements and one of the group’s core values is to ensure that the venue is leading the way in terms of accessibility for customers with mobility or access needs.

I didn't buy a share, will there be another chance?

We intend to do another share issue to give more people the opportunity to get involved.

Will the renovated building be worth the £500k you’re planning to spend on it?

Not necessarily. But a significant portion of the funding is coming from government funds that support keeping community assets open and available for use by the community.  The value to the government is greater than the value of the building because we will be reopening a space where people can connect and groups can meet. Once the pub is owned outright by the Community Benefit Society (CBS) it can only be used for a purpose that benefits the community.

Who will own and make decisions about the pub?

Anyone who purchases shares (regardless of the amount of shares) will have a vote. One member = one vote. The shareholders will appoint a committee who will manage the project. The pub itself will be run by a full time paid pub manager and there will be paid staff.

Who will run the pub?

As much as we would like Ian to return, he is moving on to pastures new.  Once the pub is getting close to being ready to open we will advertise for someone to manage the pub. They will work with the management committee to make sure the pub is being run in the best interests of the community.

Is there a business plan for the pub?

Yes. A detailed business plan has been created. This is an essential element of any grant application and share issue. The business plan can be downloaded here

Will the pub still do food?

Yes. A fully operational kitchen will be installed. What the menu will be remains to be decided. If you want a say in that, buy some shares!

How can I get involved?

Don’t be shy about reaching out.   We are a co-operative and we can use all the help we can get. Whether you want to be involved in the fundraising, the renovation of the pub, or running the pub, all help is most welcome. Get in touch with us via the contact form and one of the team will get back to you.   If you just want to see how we are getting on you can follow us on Facebook 

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