A new £1.5 million fund to help local people take control of pubs at risk of closure was launched on the 11th September 2015 by Community Pubs Minister, Marcus Jones.
The new 'Pub Loan Fund' will help community groups take over the running of their much-loved local, by providing small loans to start feasibility work, pay for lawyers' fees or get materials for refurbishment.
We have all heard the tales of people crowd funding a takeover of the local pub, but previously the onus has been on the groups of enthusiastic pub lovers to get on and do this themselves. The Localism Act 2011 allowed the listing of pubs as Assets of Community Value. This meant that people wanting to build a proposal had six months to do so. Extra protection to save pubs at risk of redevelopment can come in the shape of an Article 4 direction by the Local Council to prevent the change of use to a supermarket for example.
The new fund should give local entrepreneurs the ability to apply for financial assistance to run their local.
Once you have got your group together who are committed to taking control of your pub this will be just the start. Before planning which craft ales you will sell, quiz nights and darts teams you will have to consider some of the less exciting, but all important, legal elements.
How will you set up your business?
Corporate advice on how best to structure your group of individuals or businesses will be needed. Our corporate team can help with advising on the acquisition of your local pub and provide step-by-step guidance on what you are acquiring as part of your new venture.
In addition, once you have purchased your local pub, Shoosmiths' corporate team can provide further assistance from how to structure your corporate ownership by drafting shareholders' agreements which govern such matters as how to distribute profits between the shareholders. To helping you with your statutory filing requirements at Companies House.
How will you fund your business?
Our Banking team can advise on the terms of the pub loan and if you need extra bank funding on top, they will give advice on the facility and loan documents.
How will you hold the asset itself?
Our Real Estate team can review the title to the property and advise on any issues preventing ongoing use and operation down to the purchase or leasing of the asset itself. We also advise on the agreements Licensees have with breweries (known as 'beer ties').
Your pub will need a valid premises licence to sell alcohol and provide regulated entertainment.Your Premises Licence will be crucial to the success of your pub. You need this to sell alcohol, have live musicians perform or play recorded music and is granted by the local authority where the pub is situated. The premises licence contains the hours which the pub can operate, it contains the restrictions by way of conditions that need to be adhered to and also a plan of the premises.
We can help you from start to finish - we can check that the premises has a valid premises licence. If it doesn't, we can assist you in applying for one.
If it does have one, we can assist you to transfer the premises licence. We can vary the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), this is the person who is responsible for the day to day running of the pub. The DPS must be a personal licence holder, which we can assist you in applying for also. You may wish to vary the pub layout, or vary some of the current conditions on the premises licence, all of which may need the input of a lawyer to get the application right and granted within your timescales.
If the new 'Pub Loan Fund' has inspired you to start running your own pub, and put your name above the door, give the Shoosmiths Licensing team a call to discuss your needs.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.