What’s the plan?
The plan is to save The Railway Arms pub through a community buy-out and re-open it as Saffron Walden’s first Community Pub.
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), £250,000 was raised to purchase the pub. Despite SWCP’s best efforts, the present owners have refused to sell the pub and indeed are now submitting plans to develop the car park and grounds and re-open the main building as a tied house – plans which STRAP feel are flawed.
Would you like to be involved in our campaign or sign up to our newsletter list? If so, submit your email address or email us through the contact page.
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Next Date for the Calendar: Uttlesford District Planning Meeting 26th June 2019
The revised scheme submitted by Charles Wells Ltd will be decided at the UDC Planning Committee Meeting at the Council Offices on London Rd on 26th June at 2pm. The application has attracted a lot of interest with 22 submissions made by residents and both Saffron Walden Town Council and Essex County Council Place Services expressing concerns at the plans.
Search for UTT/19/0761/FUL once you’ve visited: HERE
Residents have pointed to the loss of historic fabric, impact on the setting of a heritage asset, detrimental impact upon an Asset of Community Value resulting from proposed divisions within the holding and the separation of the stables and cartshed block and the gardens from the main pub building. The loss of existing parking and turning space with onward implications for residents’ street parking has also been highlighted.
The Town Council refer to structural harm to the building, impact on its setting, loss of green space and the loss of off-road parking. They also point to the increased size of the fire escape and detriment to the form and building lines of the building leading to loss of benefits associated with the local heritage listing.
Essex County Council Place Services describe the extension and associated alterations as ‘… unsympathetic to the significance of the Railway Arms due to loss of historic fabric.’ and describe ‘… the erection of a pergola obscuring a considerable section of the side elevation…’ in terms of ‘…further detriment to the manner in which the architectural merits of the building may be appreciated and experienced’. The fence partitioning off the stable and cartshed block is considered ‘… inappropriate, hindering the appreciation of historic features.’ They point to uncertainty as to the impact on the north range of buildings and discuss particular requirements in terms of new gates on Station Road and Station Street.
Citing para 197 of the National Planning Policy Framework they remind us that ‘… the effect of an application on the significance of a non-designated heritage asset should be taken into account in determining the application’, and that ‘… a balanced judgement will be required having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset’.
Meetings of the Planning Committee are open to the public and members of the public are permitted to speak in relation to a planning application for a maximum of three minutes. If you would like to speak, and I would strongly urge STRAP Members to do so, you should contact the Democratic Services Office by 2pm on the day before the meeting.
You can contact the office by telephone on 01799 510430/369/548 or email: email@example.com.
You may only speak on the item you have chosen and your comments should be restricted to planning matters.
What are the next steps?
£250,000 target reached – now we’re trying to buy the pub!
- With our share issue closed and the initial target reached we are now trying to actually purchase the pub. We’ll send out news as it materialises.
You can still do any (or all) of the following to help (if you haven’t already):
- Join our mailing list (submit your email address above)
- Fill in the Community Questionnaire to give your views about what you would like to see in Saffron Walden’s first community pub
- Come along to our next Pop up Pub event – details to be posted on the website in due course.
We will post regular information about the proposals for funding the purchase of the pub and the initial renovation and running costs. It is estimated that approximately £400,000 will be required to get things up and running, and the majority of this money (£250,000 to date) has been raised from a community share issue. Other funding has been acquired through grants and community loans.
How to Save the Railway Arms Pub
We are proposing that The Railway Arms pub on Station Road in the town should be brought back from the brink and kept as a pub.
The Railway was officially registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) at a district council meeting on 30th March 2017. This was a great victory in the face of strong opposition from the owners, and things have moved on massively since: we now have raised our initial target of £250,000 in share applications, which puts us on a great footing as we attempt to buy the Railway.
SHARE SALE OFFER CLOSED ON 31 JAN 2018 – £250,000 TARGET REACHED!
Would you like to see Saffron Walden’s first community-owned pub?
Save The Railway Arms Pub (STRAP) is a campaign to save a great old public house in Saffron Walden and to create a community pub that locals can be proud of.
Would you like to see Saffron Walden’s first community-owned pub?
You can download Share Offer Prospectus, Our Business Plan and our Model Rules below. Please also fill in a Questionnaire to tell us what you’d like to see in the new pub.
How much is raised so far?
So far 291 people have purchased shares and we have raised £250,000 and thus we have reached our £250,000 target!
Thank you very much for your support.
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 given 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 share issue has been assessed by HMRC as eligibale for the Enterprise Investment Schemes which means that investors are able to claim tax relief of 30% – 50% on their investment.
The Share Prospectus and our comprehensive Business Plan have been published and are available to view (see button above).
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. The first three events were 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.”