Saturday, 2 March 2013

Buy The Bell!

My local is up for sale, but the current owner and landlord is altruistic enough to have given the local community the option of buying and running it, rather than taking the first - or highest - offer, so that the place can be run with the same staff and the same ambience it has been since he bought it about 24 years ago.

The Bell has been put onto the market as a community share offer, and this means that the £575,000 target (the remainder being covered by a bank loan) can only be reached by subscriptions of between £500 (minimum) and £20,000 (maximum) - one pound per share, and one vote (at AGMs) per subscription.

You do not need to be a local resident to invest in the place and retain it as the community asset which it already is, and because The Bell is internationally renowned as a venue for live music, it attracts visitors from all over G.B. and beyond.

The Board (as henceforth they shall be referred to!) are offering 3% interest on the first year, and 5% thereafter, for a minimum of 3 years before withdrawal - if you need to withdraw. Not only that, but the 150 year-old community share scheme template has been tied in with a recent government incentive to help small businesses by allowing a 30% tax relief for the first year - read the small print, but this is a very attractive offer for most tax-payers.

As far as I can see, any UK resident can own a part of The Bell, so why not click on the link below to see if you want to get involved in maintaining the best pub in Bath, and one of the oldest continuously running coaching inns in the West Country, as well as saving more money than you would with your ISA schemes?

I will personally buy a drink for anyone who walks into The Bell with the intention of buying some shares and keeping the place out of the hands of the big, industrial breweries and property developers.

Just walk up to the bar and ask for Tom Stephenson - they won't have a clue who you are talking about.


  1. Oh, and I should say that you can fill out your subscription form and invest online, via the above link.

  2. Replies
    1. Effectively, yes, depending on how much you would drink there in the future. You would - effectively - get free beer in your local in France, but whether or not you would want to drink it is for you to decide.

  3. We have two local pubs which have been bought un der this scheme Tom and both seem to be prospering well. One has a mother and daughter managing it and doing meals too - the other has an outside manager. Both are in tourist areas. I would imagine the one in Bath would do well too if it is old and well known. Are you taking the plunge?

    1. How are the German lessons coming on, Weave?

      Yes, we took the plunge today, and the thermometer on the website has - gratifyingly - reflected it.

  4. A great opening gambit in any conversation 'I part own the Bell Inn' - well good luck to you Tom.

    Oh by the way does H Block still exist opposite the hutments in Foxhill - a sort of old lodging of mine - the hutments I mean :)

    1. I hope to make that opening, conversational gambit it the Bell that I know and love, so thanks for your best wishes.

      They are now building very expensive houses on your old MOD work station, Heron. Why? Because if the precedent has been set - planning wise - for up-market housing, the MOD will get more money for a larger plot. Meanwhile, they often refuse planning permission on plots that they stand no chance of cleaning up on. Same old world, same old local government.

    2. Same old story then: Greed followed by more greed