Download the Share Issue document 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 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 will be launched in February 2024 where members of the public, businesses, investors and interested parties can pledge to buy shares in the pub. 2) We have applied for numerous grants and have already been successful in some of these. We will continue to seek further grant funding. 3) Donations – individuals and businesses wishing to support the project can simply make a donation rather than buying a share.

What happens if the Society can’t raise the funds it needs?

When the share offer goes live this will be managed through an accredited fundraising portal such as Crowdfunder. If we don’t hit the target we set, all payments are refunded by Crowdfunder, the project won’t go ahead and you lose nothing.

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.

How much will shares cost?

Shares cost £1 per share. Persons residing in HU postcodes must buy a minimum of 100 shares (£100). An individual in a HU postcode can purchase a maximum of 15,000 shares. Persons living in non-HU postcodes must buy a minimum of 250 shares (£250) and can purchase a maximum of 15,000 shares.

Corporate investors can buy a minimum of 1,000 shares and a maximum 100,000.

What if I can’t afford to spend £100?

Two people can club together to buy 100 shares. This will only AFFORD one vote though, so only one of two the part-owners can vote on matters put to the shareholders. Get in touch with us if you are in this position.

Will the renovated building be worth the £500k you’re spending 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, even if sold.

If I buy shares in the pub, will I receive dividends?

A CBS does not pay dividends, but it is able to pay interest on the investment, up to 3% above the Bank of England base rate. There are unlikely to be any interest payments made in the first few years of operation and typically shareholders decline to accept these interest payments so that the pub can retain the funds and invest them in building maintenance and improvements. However, once the pub is profitable, and if you want to take any interest offered as an investor, you can.

If I buy shares in the pub, can I sell them?

You can’t sell or transfer them to another person, but you can apply to the CBS to withdraw them. The CBS management committee can allow or refuse this, depending on whether or not sufficient funds are available in the business to be able to buy back your shares. The buy back price is the same price you paid for the shares.

What happens if own a share and I die?

If you die the shares become part of your estate. The people inheriting your estate can either decide to remain as investors in the pub or can request that the shares be withdrawn at the price you paid for them. It will be for the management committee to decide if and when the shares can be withdrawn based on the financial performance of the pub.

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 will be made available on the website when available.

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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