Chris and Bronwyn Boston presented their thoughts on the future of the Inn
at Penallt on Wednesday the 16th January at Pelham Hall. Following are the slides used in part one of the meeting and also a summary of the questions and answers which followed in part two.
Everyone interested in the future of The Inn is invited to complete an online survey, whether or not they were able to be at the meeting.
The survey is now closed
January 26th: statement from Chris and Bron.
Part One – presentation from Chris (click right/left arrows to change slides below)
Part Two – Q&A summary
Q: Simon Morgan: What will the planning application comprise of?
A: The garage and outbuildings would be converted into a smaller pub, about one-third of the size of the current one. The business rates would then be cut accordingly. Running costs would also be significantly reduced which would then become a viable business.
Q. Simon Morgan: How would you fund the conversion?
A. a) Sell one of the residential units (the current pub would be split into a home for us and another domestic dwelling)
b) The proposed smaller pub could become a community business i.e. shares could be sold.
Q. Jeremy Cook:
a) We should let our council know what we feel about the business rates. We should contact our local Politian/councillors
b) Why not close the restaurant – just run the bar area which would make the area smaller.
A: We wouldn’t get a re-rating until 2022, which is not soon enough.
If you change a pub to residential use you do not have to pay the business rates – only on the part converted to a pub. The new premises would be a brand new business and the rates would be calculated according to the square footage.
Q: How often are the business rates looked at?
A: Every 5 years – the next review is in 2020 but it usually takes 2 years for changes to come into force.
Q: Jan – you don’t actually pay £28k business rates do you?
A: that’s correct, it’s 51p in the pound. However irrespective of the amount payable and given the changes in customer habits and the pub industry, despite trying all routes to improve, (we have 9/10 on Trip Advisor & Booking.com) the business has made significant losses over the last 3 years
Q: Can you run the pub as a charity?
A: You cannot run a licensed premises as a charity unless there is a charitable entity e.g Pelham Hall
Q: Would it be enough just to reduce the business rates to make it a viable business?
A: No. Greater footfall is needed as well.
Q: How open are you to suggestions to a change in your business model?
A: Very interested to hear any ideas.
Q: So if we all support you and go to the pub more often will you keep going?
A: Absolutely, but there is a limited time of 6 – 12 months to turn things around.
Q: Perhaps more community groups should be encouraged to go to the pub. For example, the bowls group used to go there once a week.
Sian – I used to be the landlady of the Bush. People look at the past through rose tinted glasses. People may ask why was the pub full then but not now? Things have changed a lot since then. I think we should try to get the business rates reduced in conjunction with other things to encourage people back into the pub.
Q: Leigh – If the pub is to be used exclusively for private functions at certain times, does it mean that it will not be open to the public at those times?
A: The pub would be closed to the general public at those times. But Bronwyn will try to run these events (such as the yoga retreat) at times when the pub is normally closed.
Q: How often will these private functions take place?
A: Probably no more than once a month and usually at times when not generally open anyway.
Q: How will you notify users that the pub is closed for a private function?
A: Through the pub & village hall web site.
Q: Could this be communicated via the email list?
Sian – I think that the pub should be open on definite days every week so that people know what to expect.
A: Unfortunately, we cannot turn down big private events such as weddings in the hope that the pub gets a lot of local users – it doesn’t make sense financially.
Q: Could Pelham Hall change it’s village night to Tuesdays instead of Thursdays?
A: That’s a question for the Village Hall committee.
Q: Jeremy Cook – What is your message to us? Are you saying that if we use the pub and it becomes thriving again will you not proceed with the planning application?
Q: Ann – what level of increase in footfall do you need? Does it need to be in food/drink or both.
A: We need a 40% increase across food and drink
Q: Can you reinstate the village night £10 meal?
A: Yes, possibly
Q: Chris Jones – What do we want from our local pub? Let’s tell Chris & Bronwyn
- Village night
- What else?
A: We don’t want to upset the village hall by showing the rugby.
Geraint – if you want us to change the village hall night, we should do it.
Neville – if you could be a bit more friendly it might help!!!
Sian – this is not about character assassination – what people want from a village pub is that there is someone they know behind the bar and they can get a pint and some reasonably priced pub food. On Sometimes there is no-one behind the bar and you have to wait to be served. We need to bring the pub back and I’m passionate about it. The village hall should work with the pub. If necessary Sian is willing to start a petition over the business rates and get local politicians and the press involved.
Q: A pub was closed near [location not recorded in notes] and is now a thriving business – perhaps Chris & Bronwyn could go there and ask the owners how they have done it.
A: Yes, we should do that.
Jeremy – We need to be constructive in our comments/feedback. Any feedback needs to be constructive not negative! How can things be done in a better way?
Q: Could you run events in the buildings you are talking about converting and keep the current pub open for locals?
A: No. That would effectively make the pub bigger and increase the business rates.
Q: Emma M – Will you delay putting in the planning application if there is improvement in 6 months?
A: Yes, we could delay the planning.
Q: Jeremy – what are the next steps?
A: The survey will be sent out immediately and we will look at the feedback. We should have another village meeting in the near future.
Q: Emma M – In the meantime while you’re waiting for the surveys to come back why not re-instigate the village night immediately to get things moving?
Pat Jones – The months activities should be put on the website, so we all know what’s going on.
Roger – Maybe get printed copies delivered to homes.
Myles – There are some big problems here. You’ve inherited a lot of bad feeling. Perhaps a small committee of villagers should be set up as an interface between the pub and the community.
Gwyn – if we all went to the pub more regularly we would know what is going on! Also there are some very talented musicians in this area, which should be tapped into.
“We want a pub that is used as a pub with perhaps a bar meal if we want it.”
It takes a long time to change peoples’ opinions once they’ve made up their mind it’s a certain type of pub.
Leigh – What do we want – darts, quiz, a place to meet our friends?
Jeremy – Andy & Jackie changed the ethos of the pub which didn’t work for the locals and stopped many locals dropping in for a pint. The link was broken by no fault of your own and it takes a long time to mend it.
A: we are open on Friday 1st Feb I expect you all to be there! We will get more live sport and music if that’s what you want.