We are relentlessly pushing ahead with our dream of buying the Ship Inn building and restoring it back to being a pub; a new pub which we will create. In our case, it’s going to be a pub owned by the community with everyone having a say in it. Since our fantastic public meeting at Mosse Hall on 18 November, a number of things have happened. I’d like to tell you about them.
SHARE PROSPECTUS AND PLEDGES.
Last week, the steering committee of the Aldwick Community Society Ltd. worked on the draft prospectus of the forthcoming share issue. We were helped and advised by Mark McTaggart of the Plunkett Foundation, who spoke at our public meeting. He will be assessing the document before it goes to the Community Shares Unit for their Standard Charter Mark. Then we will publish it on-line and print up brochures for distribution in Aldwick and beyond.
As we said at the public meeting, we need to raise £500,000 to buy the Ship Inn site. It’s a tall order, but it can be done, though only with your support. We will be offering shares with a minimum of £100. We hope that people will buy more than that, if we are to meet the target. We’ll let you know when we are ready to launch. We want everyone in the two Aldwick wards to know this is happening, so spread the word.
In advance of the share issue launch we are asking people individually to pledge to buy shares so we can assess how near we are to the target figure. There is no obligation and this is not the legal launch of the share issue but it would help us to know the financial extent the Friends and the wider community are willing to help buy the Ship Inn.
So, we’re asking all of you to click on this link and go to the pledge form which you can complete. Or if you prefer, you can just email a reply to email@example.com
We also have a pledge hotline 07495 297845 which Friends can call to give pledges or donations.
Remember, we don’t want any money now so don’t get out the cheque book yet. When the launch happens, that’s the time to buy your shares. We’ll let you know, and how to do it.
Since the pledge form went on-line last week, 87 people have personally committed a total of £91,155. That’s a marvellous response, and thank you very much to all. If you haven’t pledged yet, please consider it and take action as soon as you can.
To be clear, in case there is any confusion, a donation to our working fund now is not a pledge for shares. The working fund is vital so we can pay for professional reports, official registrations, publicity flyers, organising committee rooms and public meetings. A big thank you to all those who have donated so we can keep the campaign going. We still need working funds, so if you can spare a little bit of cash, please send a cheque to our Treasurer, John Pressdee at 31 Chawkmere Coppice, Aldwick, Bognor Regis, W. Sussex. PO21 3SP.
THE SHIP INN OWNERS AND ONE STOP STORES
We have been in talks with the Ship Inn site owners, Property Surplus Investments (SPI), about our buying the freehold. They are willing to sell at the market value of a closed convenience store. We just have to raise the money and make an offer.
But in parallel, SPI have signed a Heads of Agreement with One Stop Stores Ltd, the Tescos wholly owned subsidiary, to grant a ten year lease for yet another convenience store following on from the failed Morrisons and My Local outlets.
Despite One Stop’s present intention to open a store in the New Year, we have been in direct contact with them and they have told us they are willing to pull out if we and SPI agree a price to buy the freehold. As I said above, all we have to do is raise the money.
You may have seen scaffolding going up outside the Ship Inn building. That’s the owners doing repairs to the roof and guttering. It’s one of the conditions they have to complete in the Heads of Agreement before a lease is signed and goes live.
One Stop have to meet their own condition, and that is to secure planning permission from Arun District Council’s Development Control Committee on 8 January. The application AW/237/19/PL is to vary the times and frequency of deliveries to the proposed store. As most of you know, that means up to 36 deliveries per week compared with Morrisons’ 21.
The One Stop Delivery Management Scheme has gone through many iterations but the last one on 18 October shows 4 deliveries with 38 foot articulated lorries; 3 by rigid vehicles; 5 by refrigerated box van; 5 milk deliveries by 26 tonne refrigerated vehicles; 12 bread deliveries by 18 tonne rigid vehicles; 7 newspaper deliveries by transit vans.
We asked the Friends to send objections to One Stop’s planning application, and more than 100 have been received by Arun.
Among the documents submitted by One Stop are Tracking Plans purporting to show how their 38 foot articulated and rigid lorries are going to unload (see attached). They appear to be hand drawn and one shows how the trucks would take the whole of Aldwick Street to back into the Ship Inn car park.
The second (see attached) shows trucks pulling up alongside the building on the road to unload for up to 30 minutes, something even Morrisons didn’t dare to do. The document seeks to show how traffic coming both ways would still be able to pass at the same time. This is clearly nonsense, but was nevertheless approved by the West Sussex County Council planning services officer.
I wrote to this officer on 25 November asking whether she had visited the site to check out if what One Stop were telling her was correct. She has not replied. There will clearly be a severe impact on Aldwick Street, local traffic and residents if these delivery arrangements go ahead.
As an example of what will happen, I took a picture on 18 November of the scaffolding truck (much smaller than the delivery HGVs) parked in almost the same position shown on the Tracking Plan. As you will see in the attached picture, traffic both ways was held up and could not pass at the same time around the truck.
We want all the members of Arun’s Development Control committee to throw out this planning application, or at the very least visit the site as a committee to see for themselves. If it is passed, SPI and One Stop will almost certainly sign the lease.
When I was recently contacted by the One Stop Acquisitions Manager, he said they had no idea that the Friends of the Ship Inn wanted to buy the site. Entering the words “The Ship Inn, Aldwick” into a search engine would have alerted him to our five year campaign. We have asked to see his boss, One Stop’s Managing Director, Jonny McQuarrie to tell him the following:-
1. The Aldwick Community Society want to buy the the Ship Inn site so we can get our one and only pub back.
2. Local sentiment is so hostile to another convenience store that One Stop will fail like Morrisons and My Local because not enough people will shop in it, and we will campaign against it.
Mr McQuarrie has not responded, so we think it’s time he heard from you. Please write a letter or e-mail in your own words to Mr McQuarrie telling him that you do not want another convenience store on the Ship Inn site; you do want your pub back. Furthermore, you wouldn’t buy anything from his store. This is where to write to:-
One Stop Stores Ltd,
W. Midlands. WS8 7HU
Or e-mail him on : firstname.lastname@example.org
The more letters and e-mail Mr McQuarrie gets, the better he will understand our message to him. STAY OUT OF ALDWICK.
ONE STOP, SPI, AND THE ASSET OF COMMUNITY VALUE DESIGNATION ON THE SHIP INN.
There is another good reason to write to Mr McQuarrie and it is a very disturbing one. Among the documents lodged on Arun’s planning applications site is one in which One Stop reveals its intention to submit another application in the future to destroy the pub porch and its bay windows which front Aldwick Street. This is to facilitate more easily parking their HGV delivery vehicles alongside the Ship Inn building.
There is one limited protection which may help stop them doing this and it is the Asset of Community Value designation which the Friends applied to renew with Arun DC in August, and which they approved. Perhaps that is why SPI have recently asked Arun to review the designation with a view to revoking it. They are citing two grounds; whether the Friends of the Ship Inn is a valid community group eligible to make the nomination, and whether the property satisfies the community value criteria.
We are submitting our response to this contemptible attack on what little protection the Ship has got. With the ACV, the owners SPI have to ask us if we want to bid for the freehold should they wish to sell, and if we do ( of course we do) they have to give us six months to raise the money.
VOLUNTEERS AND A TRUCK
We are fortunate to have a dedicated band of volunteers who are giving invaluable help to the Steering Committee, but we are calling for more Friends to step up and give us some of their time. In particular, Lynn Sullivan is gathering a group to discuss and start fund raising for the campaign to buy the Ship Inn. We want your ideas to kick-off community activities with the accent on fun. So, get in touch and volunteer to help. Let’s celebrate how Aldwick is coming together to raise the Ship Inn.
As already mentioned, we are fighting the ludicrous proposal by One Stop to increase their deliveries should their convenience store be realised. Their intention to park 38 foot trucks by the side of the Aldwick building is crazy and dangerous. In order to demonstrate how stupid it is, we are asking any of the Friends who have an articulated truck to get in touch, or know of a company which has, and would be willing to park it in a controlled operation by the Ship Inn so we can take a picture and video of what this would actually look like.
So, dear Friends, you can see we are fighting on all fronts. We will not rest; we will not weaken; we will, in Churchill’s phrase just KBO ( look it up), until victory is ours.
We need you all and your support. Show them you can’t just be walked over by commercial greed. It’s your community and you should determine what happens in it.
SAVE THE SHIP . LET’S GET OUR PUB BACK… A NEW AND BETTER ONE.