News

Dear Friends,

I hope you are well and keeping safe.

It is now clear that we must wind up the Ship Inn Share Issue offer and return all money to the investors. The Aldwick Community Society took that decision last night for the following reasons.

  • We have only raised about £60,000 which is well short of the minimum target of £450,000. In the end, the community evidently could not support the campaign financially. That is the main reason for calling a halt to the Share Issue.
  • The unforseen Covid crisis has made redundant our economic model and cash flow forecasts. Like all hospitality businesses today the Ship Inn would face real difficulties being viable given social distancing and government restrictions.
  • In the present circumstances it is not certain that enough local customers would book, eat and drink at the Ship Inn pub-restaurant in sufficient numbers.
  • We may well have faced increased refurbishment costs to make the building Covid safe.
  • We are checking whether the site owners have indeed finally signed the lease with One Stop Stores. If they have, there is no prospect of our buying the freehold.

All the money will be returned to investors’ accounts in 28 days. We have a few cheques which have not been cashed and will be returned in the post.

There are certain commitments the Society has regarding company registration, the website, the membersmojo database, and the Plunkett Foundation. These will be reviewed although we would like to maintain the Friends data base so that we can communicate with you all in future. We would also like to continue our opposition to One Stop Stores and especially their attempts to unload articulated trucks on Aldwick Street.

We hope that the people of Aldwick can show their contempt for One Stop by refusing to shop in their store and that its fate will be the same as the former Morrisons and My Local convenience stores.

The Aldwick Community Society committee would like to thank you for your enthusiastic support during the campaign, attending the public meetings, and giving us the confidence to carry on. But in the end we couldn’t raise the cash.

Keep the Aldwick spirit alive and you never know we may get another opportunity.

Best of Luck,

Roger Beam. Chair. The Aldwick Community Society and the Friends of the Ship Inn.

Dear Friend,

We hope you are well and keeping safe in these terrible national circumstances.

The Aldwick Community Society launched its Share Issue to buy the Ship Inn on 7 March, just before the government ordered the lockdown. Soon after, the share issue stalled for obvious reasons. We couldn’t go out in the community to campaign or doorstep potential investors, especially local businesses who are facing a very uncertain future. Nevertheless, we managed to raise around £60,000 from local investors (£51,725 in the bank plus cheques waiting to be cleared), and we thank all those who have contributed. The funds are in a secure account with the Triodos Bank.

The Share Issue was supposed to last six weeks and end today, 18 April. The minimum we should have raised is £450,000. That is a target we now cannot reach and so we have two choices; abandon the Share Issue and return all monies in 28 days, or extend the deadline because of the abnormal circumstances prevailing.

The Steering Committee would prefer to extend to 22 June. That takes in the second three week lockdown period, and another six weeks to raise the money. We are being guided  by the Plunkett Foundation under whose rules the Aldwick Community Society operates. They and our personal business advisor have agreed we can extend the  Share Issue if we so decide. Clearly, there is no certainty we will reach the target  but we should try, and use the time to look for more large and small investors.

Of course, the national circumstances may relax somewhat or the restrictions will still hinder our campaign, not to mention people’s ability to invest. If that is so, we may consider extending again. These are abnormal times.

Pubs and the hospitality sector will probably be among the last to emerge from the social distancing restrictions. As of today, we have no idea when that might be. But at some stage in the next couple of months the government will have to announce a plan for the hospitality industry or it will suffer irreperable damage. From our point of view, the Ship Inn is not trading and therefore suffers no losses. After purchase, it will take three months to refurbish and turn the building back into a pub. In the meantime, we may well be eligible for reliefs such as business rates.

Additionally, it is important that the owners of the Ship Inn site, Surplus Property Investments, know that we are still in the market to buy. If we were to abandon the Share Issue it may persuade them to sign an immediate lease with One Stop Stores pending  a decision by Arun’s Development Control committee to agree their application for a variation of deliveries. That application may come up again at their meeting on 27 May, although whether it goes ahead will depend on the lockdown regulations.

I hope you agree with our decision to extend the Share Issue. Please tell your family and friends that we all want to bring the Ship Inn back home to Aldwick to serve our community and be owned by us.

Please keep safe.

Best Regards,

Roger Beam. Chair, The Aldwick Community Society and Friends of the Ship Inn

Please pop along, we are open from 10:00 to 14:00

About the event: Are you giving away money to your Energy Supplier? Why not give it to the Ship Inn instead?

Many of us stay with our gas and electricity suppliers out of habit, but that habit is probably costing us money. Habit may also mean we waste energy and so rethinking our energy usage can both save us money and help to reduce our carbon footprint.

We have teamed up with Citizens Advice to run an Energy Best Deal drop in 10am to 2pm at Aldwick Parish Council, 88 Pryors Ln, Bognor Regis PO21 4JF . You can get help checking whether you are on the best deal, are you getting help you are entitled to and also share tips on being more energy efficient.

We will talk about what you need to check before you switch, including the different types of tariff, payment options and meters and whether you could get £140 off your electricity bill through Warm Home Discount. We will help you to compare tariffs, and explain how you go about changing for a better deal.

All you need to bring is either your annual statement from your current provider or your latest bill showing your consumption and your mobile phone if you have data on it.

Come and meet other local residents and raise money for the Ship Inn by donating 50% of your saving to the fund.

You can just turn up on the day but if you can give us advance notice of the approximate time you will come along that would be great.

Find out more here

Wine Tasting Evening at Mosse Hall, Aldwick at 8pm, entry by ticket only.

Raffle, donation bar and cheese and crackers!

Tickets are available from Tudor News, Craigweil News and Rose Green Post Office.

Dear Friend,

We won a crucial battle yesterday when Arun’s Development Control committee threw out One Stop Store’s planning application for the Ship Inn site. It means they can’t sign a lease with the owners, Surplus Property Investments, who are willing to entertain an offer from us to purchase it. We’ve won a battle, but not yet the war.

The members of the committee clearly didn’t buy the Arun and West Sussex Council’s recommendation to approve One Stop’s proposed new regime of deliveries using more and bigger trucks including 38 foot articulated vehicles, and increasing deliveries from 21 per week ( granted to Morrisons) to 36. There were a whole raft of road safety and pollution issues that the members were concerned with, not least the astonishing intention to park the articles and rigid lorries on Aldwick Street by the Ship Inn building to unload for 30 minutes at a time.

West Sussex Highways approved the application because they agreed with the One Stop tracking plan which ( surprise, surprise) showed that two cars could squeeze by each way. But, to their credit, the members didn’t believe that at all and challenged the officers’ evidence and arguments. They did not meekly go along with what they were told.

Indeed, under questioning, the officers contradicted their own advice and finally admitted that there could be some “minimal” congestion. A car may have to wait momentarily before being able to drive on. Nobody bought that one either. The recommendation to approve was illustrated with photographs of Aldwick Street apparently devoid of moving traffic. There had been no site visit, either.

It became evident that the officers did not have answers to some basic questions such as the widths of Aldwick Street, articulated lorries, and ordinary vehicles. However, our Aldwick councillor Hugh Coster, did have those figures and proved it would be impossible for cars to flow both ways while a 38 foot truck was parked up by the pub building.

All this does not take into account the other tracking plan which shows trucks taking up the whole road to reverse into the car park, if they can, and then getting out again. Motorist and pedestrian sight lines would all be affected by these proposed vehicle deliveries and there would be increased noise and exhaust pollution. But not enough, of course, for the officers to recommend refusal.

As it became obvious that the committee was minded to refuse the application, the members were warned that if One Stop went to appeal and Arun officers couldn’t prove the members’ objections , Arun would be liable for costs. Call it a warning; a shot across their bows; an attempt to cow elected representatives about to take the “wrong” decision; it didn’t work. To their credit the committee went on to vote it down. It was a win for the people versus big business.

But they did pass another motion immediately after. They called for the application to be deferred until a new, properly measured tracking plan was produced, and the proposer, Ricky Bower, also wanted an independent road safety audit to investigate all the committee’s concerns. We say that members and officers must also make a site visit to see for themselves.

It’s possible One Stop may now come back with revised proposals for officers to approve. But, by then, we hope events will have moved on. We will have launched our Share Issue and be on our way to our target of raising £500,000 to buy the Ship Inn site. Then we’ll open our pub-restaurant and secure the Ship Inn for good. We’ll have news for you on that front shortly. Meanwhile, we have commissioned a pub designer and constructors to give us accurate figures on refitting the building as a pub-restaurant again.

A big thank you to all those Friends who made the trip to Littlehampton to support us in the council chamber.

SAVE THE SHIP . LET’S GET OUR PUB BACK… A NEW AND BETTER ONE.

All the best,

Roger Beam. Chair. The Friends of the Ship Inn and the Aldwick Community Society Ltd.

Dear Friends,

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 finance@theshipinnaldwick.co.uk

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:-

Jonny McQuarrie,
Managing Director,
One Stop Stores Ltd,
Apex House,
Brownhills,
Walsall,
W. Midlands. WS8 7HU

Or e-mail him on : jonny.mcquarrie@onestop.co.uk

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.

Dear Friends,

Thank you to all those who turned up at Mosse Hall on a cold November night on Tuesday for our Public Meeting. There were about 200 residents there and I am glad to say that the enthusiasm to resurrect the Ship Inn has not dimmed since our last meeting in September. A unanimous show of hands from the floor demonstrated we want this pub back and serving our community.

The steering committee gave the meeting the details of what we need to raise in a Share Issue launch to buy the Ship Inn. It’s £500,000 from people in Aldwick and beyond. A high target to be sure, but it can be done if we have the will to do it. It shows institutional funders the community is willing to put their hands in their pockets to buy this pub and run it for the good of all.

On Tuesday night we asked everybody to fill in the “beer mat pledge”. On the back of each was space to write down what amount of money someone was prepared to spend on buying shares to to own our Ship Inn. The results are staggering and truly encouraging for the steering committee who are fighting on your behalf.

The people at that meeting pledged £42,650. Utterly fantastic! These were new pledges and added to the £65,300 which was pledged before the meeting it means we’ve got £107,950 in pledges in total. A Brilliant Start! I have no doubt that all those anonymous pledges at the meeting will be honourably met.

Now the steering committee are busy finalising our Share Issue prospectus which we will publish in December and then launch the share issue early in January. As well as publishing on-line on our website theshipinnaldwick.co.uk ( going live soon), we’ll be distributing at least 2,000 brochures in Aldwick. You will find all the financial details in there and a share form to complete.

The meeting on Tuesday night generated some great comments and ideas from the floor about the type of tenant who might run the pub’s day to day operation; the food people wanted to see; the added income streams we might generate; and how people will get to the pub. All of this is grist to the share issue prospectus we are writing now.

There was some unintended rivalry expressed with our friends in Pagham and the four pubs there. I’d like to make it clear we are not in opposition to them. They’ll always be bigger than us but there’s enough business out there for us all. The more, the better. And especially when we have no pub at all in Aldwick thanks to the commercial vandalism five years ago.

Keep the faith! Let’s buy the Ship Inn, and have a drink in our own pub.

Best of luck to all,

Roger Beam. Chair. Friends of the Ship Inn and Aldwick Community Society.

P.S. One of our committee members, David Gerrie, has set up the Ship Inn Wine Ltd to help support the refit of the pub . The web address is www.shipinnwine.co.uk where people can register their interest. The fully functional site will be up and ready shortly . There will be an initial Christmas wine selection , all delivered early December!

Ship Inn Wine Ltd

One of our committee members, David Gerrie, has set up the Ship Inn Wine Ltd to help support the refit of the pub . The web address is www.shipinnwine.co.uk please go and have a look. We will be adding more wines in the near future . We will deliver to your door if you are local!