Chairman’s Update: We did it!
At 3pm on Monday 12th October 2020, the Railway Arms passed into the hands of the community. It became Saffron Walden’s first community-owned pub. We did it! After all these years, we did it.
Formerly the Railway Hotel, The Railway Arms in Saffron Walden has stood in the shadow of the old, now closed, Great Eastern branch line since 1865 and is a pub close to the hearts of many in the local area. Situated on the edge of the town centre on the corner of Station Road and Station Street, the pub was renowned for serving some of the best cask conditioned ales and good pub grub to the regulars of the local area.
Featuring in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide for many years, the pub was the centre of the community from near and far and is still fondly remembered worldwide by old students of the nearby language school who were regulars back in the day. Indeed the former landlord of the pub from 1958 to 1998 – Jim Jordan – was awarded the OBE for his tenure at the pub and is remembered by being named on the nearby ‘Jordan Close’ just along from the building.
After being purchased by Charles Wells around 2014, the new owners closed the doors to the pub on New Year’s Day 2017.
Since then our campaign to save this much-loved community hub has sought to re-open the building as a Community-run pub.
The building was granted Asset of Community Value (ACV) status by Uttlesford District Council in 2018 and through the formation of Saffron Walden Community Pub Ltd (SWCP).
Thankfully, in October 2020 we were able to complete the purchase of the Railway and it became Saffron Walden’s first community-owned pub!
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How to Save the Railway Arms Pub
Our vision is for the Railway Arms to be the first community pub in Saffron Walden to be owned and run by the community for the community.
The Railway was officially registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) at a district council meeting on 30th March 2017.
We now have already raised substantial funds in share applications, grants and loans, which puts us on a great footing as we attempt to buy the Railway Arms.
We need to raise more and are launching a second community share offer to put us in a position to make a bid.
If you are an existing shareholder, individual, company, charity or other corporate body, you can purchase shares and join the current members in saving the pub
NEW SHARE SALE OFFER NOW OPEN – DEADLINE 31ST OCTOBER 2020!
You can download our governing document [Model Rules], Business Plan, Community Benefit Plan and Share Prospectus below.
Please also fill in a Questionnaire to tell us what you’d like to see in the new pub.
Thank you very much for your support.
How much is raised so far?
The total figure of £202,050 represents money raise from those who have purchased shares alongside the pledges received from those wishing to buy shares in the second share issue.
What is a community share issue?
Our application to establish a Community Benefit Society called The Saffron Walden Community Pub Ltd has been accepted by the Financial Conduct Authority. Anyone interested is invited to purchase shares in the society/pub which would give them a vote on all major decisions in relation to the management strategy and how the pub is eventually run.
Whether someone purchases a single share or a hundred, and invests £50 or £5,000, each member of the Community Benefit Society will have one vote only.
In addition, though the value of the shares will not increase, it is proposed that there will be an interest dividend that is paid annually to shareholders, the rate of which will be set annually. Shares may only be sold back to the society.
The Society has received advance assurance from HMRC that the fist share offer will qualify for the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme [SEIS] and Enterprise Investment Scheme [EIS]. These are government schemes devised to encourage investment in new enterprises and provide tax relief of 50% and 30% of the cost of investment per respective scheme to those buying shares who pay income tax. The Society will seek confirmation that the second share offer will also qualify.
Shares would be eligible for withdrawal from the end of year 3, subject to approval of the management committee and on the basis that any withdrawal will not endanger the financial viability of the Society.
If you are interested in the STRAP campaign, please come along to the next event (details of which will be posted on our website, Twitter feed and Facebook page). We’re really excited about our recent Pup up Pub events as they have allowed us to meet regularly, share news and updates, meet new people and old friends and talk about the things that interest us and others – just like we’d do in the Railway in fact. All the events so far have been brilliant, and we expect future events to be better still!
If you can’t make it to the next event, submit your email address above and we’ll send you further information and news as it arises.
If you’d like to ask any questions about the campaign, or indeed if you’d like to put forward any ideas or make any suggestions, please fill in the form on our contact page.
“One of the best things you can do to help save the pub, is follow the link below and join the Community Benefit Society and buy some shares. Thank you.”