Save the Railway Arms Pub Share Application Form

Help Save the Railway Arms Pub by buying shares

The Saffron Walden Community Pub Ltd (SWCP) is registered as a Community Benefit Society with the Financial Conduct Authority.

If you think that you would be interested in becoming a member of SWCP and investing in the society,  please read the SHARE PROSPECTUS and BUSINESS PLAN, then pick one of the following options:

  1. Complete the details below on the online form, make a bank transfer to pay for the shares THEN submit the form, or 
  2. Print, complete and return a PDF Share Application Form/MS Word Share Application Form (address is on the fom) along with a cheque to cover the cost of the required number of shares.

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What is it all about?

  • You are being invited to buy shares in the Saffron Walden Community Pub Limited (‘SWCP’)
  • SWCP was established to raise funds through community share issues, grants and other finance to purchase, refurbish and reopen the Railway Arms and save an important community asset.
  • This second share offer opened on the 9 May 2020 and will close on 31st October 2020 (or such earlier or later date as the Society may determine).
  • The Society is seeking to raise between a minimum of £77,000 and a maximum of £100,000 from this share offer to increase the total share capital raised to between £250,000 and £275,000.
  • There are still 289 shareholder members who bought £173,350 share capital in 2017 and, to date, SWCP has received over 50 pledges to purchase shares totalling £28,700.]
  • SWCP has been awarded the maximum grant and short-term loan available, £100,000 from the More Than a Pub programme. The Society has applied to the Triodos Bank for a secured 20-year mortgage of £100,000.
  • In total, SWCP is aiming to raise a minimum total of £500,000 through a combination community shares, grants and loan funding to submit a fully funded bid by the end of May.

Why do it now?

  • The pub has been registered as an Asset of Community Value [ACV]
  • The owner, Charles Wells put the pub up for sale 
  • The community submitted a community bid on 17th June 2020 and the bid has been accepted (subject to contract)

How would it be done?

  • Raise funding via a second community share issue
  • Apply for the share booster scheme that will match each share purchased up to a maximum of £50,000
  • Re-applying for grants and mortgage finance
  • Maximise the share sale as it is cheaper than mortgage or loan finance
  • A bid has been made and has been accepted (subject to contract)

How does the share sale work?

  • The share offer is open to existing shareholders, new individuals, companies and other corporate organisations such as charities
  • A share prospectus has been issued
  • The minimum subscription is £50 (1 share) and the maximum up-to£30,0000 (600 shares)
  • Interest at a rate higher than 2% above the Bank of England Base Rate is payable on shares. Shareholders approve the rate of interest each year following a recommendation from the Management Committee who are proposing an interest a rate of 3% for the first year of trading. After 3 years shares are eligible for withdrawal, by giving 3 months’ notice to SWCP
  • Withdrawal may be declined, or amount reduced if the withdrawal threatens the future of the SWCP
  • Tax paying investors may benefit by being able to claim tax relief on their investment under the Enterprise Investment Scheme [EIS]
  • HMRC provided advance authorisation for EIS on the first share offer and advance assurance will be sought for the second share issue.

Will SWCP be viable?

  • Community owned pubs are based on a new business model that is more customer [community] focused and operate on a lower cost basis than pubs owned by breweries or pubcos.
  • SWCP has prepared a business plan detailing how the pub will be run on a financial sustainable basis and includes developing the pub and the outbuilding to improve the services provided and income raised

What do you need to do now?

  • It is important to read the Share Prospectus before deciding to buy shares

  • If you would like to become a shareholding member complete this ONLINE SHARE APPLICATION FORM  

  • This information will be used for the purpose of maintaining a register of members as required by the rules of SWCP and for posting of notices regarding the activities of SWCP. This information will not be passed to third parties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions you may have regarding buying shares in Saffron Walden Community Pub Limited

  • 1. Why should I buy community shares?

We need your investment to help save a valuable community asset, the Railway Arms. Without sufficient investment from the community we will be unable to make a bid to purchase it and operate it as the first community owned pub in Saffron Walden dedicated to serving the needs of the community.

  • 2. Who will benefit from this project?

The residents of Saffron Walden and especially those living in the southern wards of the town that have seen local convenient services such as shops, cafés and other facilities closed will benefit. The Railway Arms has the potential to offer more than a pub that can become a central point for the local community and create a stronger, more vibrant and cohesive community in which to live.

  • 3. Is this a good business proposition?

We have forecast that the pub will be financially profitable. We have prepared our financial projections based on the financials when the pub was being run successfully. They have also been reviewed by a consultant who works in the pub retailing industry. These show the Railway Arms can be successful. There are now in excess of 120 community owned Pubs in the UK and none has failed to date. Full details of our forecasts and assumptions are shown in the Business Plan.

  • 4. Will you be paying a fair price for the Pub?

We are confident we will be able to secure the pub for a price that will reflect the current market value and enable us to establish a successful business.

  • 5. Who are the people behind SWCP and what do they stand to gain?

The Management Committee consists of a group of local residents whose details are given above. They care keenly about the future of the pub and about Saffron Walden. They are also members having invested in the first share issue. They will have no personal financial interest in the project, above and beyond their own investment in community shares. They have contributed a large amount of time to the project so far at no cost to SWCP.

  • 6. Who will run the pub and make the day-to-day decisions about the business?

The Management Committee will oversee the business and ensure it achieves the vision and aims and is run in line with the values set out above. An experienced Pub Manager will be appointed to oversee the day-to-day running of the pub. The Management Committee plan also to appoint a part-time Business Manager to work with the Pub Manager and ensure the pub is being run properly and in accordance with the aims of the Society. There will be governance and reporting arrangements in place to monitor financial and other performance. There will be an open and regular dialogue between the Business Manager, Pub Manager and the Management Committee and the views of members and customers will be actively canvassed by the Committee.

  • 7. Will my shares give me voting rights?

Yes. A Community Benefit Society is an open and democratic organisation. One member receives one vote on issues determined by shareholders, irrespective of how many shares that member has purchased.

  • 8. Can I get my money back?

You will be unable to withdraw your shares for the first three years after purchase. Thereafter you will need to give at least three months’ notice of your wish to withdraw shares. Shares can neither be sold nor transferred to someone else. Withdrawals must be funded from surpluses generated by the business or from new share capital raised from members. The Committee may decline requests for withdrawals depending on the long-term interests of the Society, its need to maintain adequate reserves, and the broader needs of our community.

  • 9. What happens if the purchase of the Railway Arms does not proceed?

It is possible that we will be unable to complete the purchase. If this happens, we will return any funds we have received to investors.

  • 10. What happens if the SWCP fails?

Should the business fail, all assets, including the freehold of the building, would be sold and the proceeds of the sale (after paying any creditors) divided between the shareholders up to the value of their shares. You might receive the full value of your shares back or you might lose part or all of your investment. However, you should remember that this is an investment underpinned by freehold property.

  • 11. What redress do I have if the business fails and I lose the value of my shares?

This share offer is first and foremost an investment in your community. The investment is unregulated and not covered by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Furthermore, there is no right of access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or to the Financial Ombudsman.

  • 12. Will I receive interest from my shares?

The Society can only pay interest out of its trading profits and the rate of interest cannot exceed the higher of 5% or 2% above the Bank of England Base Rate. Interest will be payable if the business generates enough surpluses and the payment of interest will not have an adverse effect on the ability of the Society to continue. The shareholders approve the rate of interest each year following a recommendation from the Management Committee. Interest will be paid gross and it is each member’s responsibility to declare such earnings to HMRC if appropriate.

  • 13. Will my investment be eligible for tax relief?

This investment should qualify for tax relief under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). This scheme allows eligible income taxpayers who purchase shares to apply for income tax relief at 30% of the amount invested provided the shares are held for a minimum of three years. The Society received advance assurance from HMRC that its first share offer in 2018 qualified for the EIS. The Management Committee cannot see any reasons why the second share offer should not also qualify for the EIS scheme as there have been no significant changes in the business plan and model submitted to the HMRC in 2018. 

  • 14. How can I purchase shares in SWCP?

To buy shares in SWCP and take part in this exciting opportunity, please complete the attached Application Form when the share offer is open on 9 May 2020 and return it to the address shown.

  • 15 If I want more information, whom should I contact?

The Secretary, Tom Bennett – email; telephone 07950 071998

More information is also available on our website – – including the Share Prospectus, Business Plan, Community Benefit Plan and the Rules of the Society.

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