Story So Far
You may well be interested in what's been going on since the doors were barred at the KW4.
Below is the potted summary in a glass...
September 2020 Update
September 2020: ACV & Planning Changes:
Since we last shared an update on the King William IV, the Pub Rescue Group have continued to work during the COVID-19 crisis by holding on-line Zoom meetings.
We have successfully been able to secure a renewal of the Asset of Community Value (ACV) designation of the pub but unfortunately there is no significant progress on buying the property at this stage.
However, there have been some changes in planning legislation with effect from 1st September 2020 which gives us some comfort and benefit that losing our pub to another use becomes much harder now. The Use Classes Order, which sets out what alternative uses can be carried out without the benefit of planning consent, has been updated to allow greater flexibility for many uses. Whilst this relaxation of the rules will assist owners of empty shops and offices the rules relating to Drinking Establishments have been tightened. Public Houses previously fell within Class 4 of the Use Classes order but with effect from 1st September they are classed as Sui Generis. This Latin expression means “of its own kind”, which means that no automatic change to any other use is permitted without a formal planning application and consent.
We consider that this and the ACV strongly protects the position of the village pub as a valuable community asset, and we will watch carefully for any activity to change its Use Class and also any similar activity of this kind relating to other pubs in our local area.
Lastly, it is worth remarking upon the village shop situation and drawing parallels with the King William. Around 150 objections lodged against the suggested changes of status of Speen Stores demonstrate the scale of village support in protecting and retaining our village assets and its vital amenities.
May 2020: Renewed Asset of Community Value (ACV) Status:
When the pub initially closed its doors the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) registered the KW4 as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). The existence of an ACV forms a "material consideration" in matters of planning, change of use and prospective sales, though the original had an expiry date of 20-May-2020. The group, in consultation with Wycombe District Council, lobbied to have the ACV renewed which was successfully achieved and so will remain in place for a further 5 years.
Dec 2019: Open Market Valuation & Offer to Buy :
Christies were engaged by the group to perform an independent valuation of the pub to determine its Open Market Valuation (OMV). The valuation completed and the OMV formed the basis of a revised offer that was submitted in December 2019. No formal reply was received to this offer.
Previously on KW4...
Consultations with local residents completed
Indications of interest and provision of financial support sought and many received (enabling the construction of credible purchase and business plans)
Independent Market valuations sought and received;
Offer(s) submitted to the vendor (via his agent) - all ignored or rejected
ACV extension sought and secured
Ongoing liaison with local planning and governance bodies
Periodic marking to market of the property
Monitoring of the local pub trade and prospects
Monitoring of the potential impacts of COVID upon market levels and business viability.
Last Orders at the Bar!
Since Boxing Day 2015 the doors have been closed and the pub ceased trading.
In the lead up to its closure the pub had been stagnating. Reasons are manifold, but it deteriorated from a vibrant & welcoming dining, drinking & meeting venue to becoming a chilly, soulless and unwelcoming shell
Since then the interest group have been on the case with the prime aim of having it re-open as a pub, but to also anticipate and prepare to resist any moves to change the buildings use.
The door remains locked.
Any Chance of a Pint?
The Art of the Possible
In addition to familiarising ourselves with the planning situation to address any risk of a prospective change of use, the group embarked upon making a comprehensive assessment of the viability of the KW4 as a pub.
The detailed research covered comprehensive assessments of pub valuations (local and nationwide) & real estate, numerous consultations with pub managers, management companies and brewers and the compilation of a series of informed & credible business models covering from basic ('lights on') up to major ('marquee destination pub') trading scenarios.
It's eminently doable!
Give us a shot
Based on the research, evolving market conditions and the premises size and prestige location, the group have made a series of credible, substantiated and well thought out offers for the purchase of the freehold of the property.
All offers were either left to expire or rejected. Each offer, while lower than the asking price, was founded upon:
Our detailed research;
Condition of the building;
Confidence levels in the securing of community funding;
Long term & sustainable viability as a functioning pub.
The 'Best and Final' Offer expired (though was later confirmed as formally rejected after the deadline) in September 2018,
The group remain active and continue to explore ways to resurrect the King Bill.
Friends of the King William
If you're interested in the situation, would like to help or offer a different perspective then we'd welcome your input.
The overriding consensus of the group, regardless of any nuances of individual motivation, is to preserve the King William IV as a pub for this uniquely special village of Speen.
What has become abundantly clear over the course of the efforts, research and discussions of the past three years is that there are numerous ideas as to what could be done and as to how the KW4 could be used to keep our pub at the heart of the community.
An energetic and creative community such as ours will surely have countless more thoughts and ideas.
Please do get in touch!