Since our previous update, many things have happened. The Steering Group has successfully made the first approach to the Government for funding from the Community Ownership Fund (COF). This opens the door to securing funding for a viable offer to purchase the Windmill freehold. In addition to a Level 3 survey and condition report for the property, we have obtained a professional valuation for The Windmill that took into account equivalent pub values and the viability of running a successful pub/restaurant. We have also engaged a solicitor who agreed to act on our behalf at a reduced rate because she is keen to support a Community-led group.
The Steering Group made an offer to the owner of the Windmill on 24th January 2024 that was the full valuation amount. Unfortunately, it was rejected. The owner has stated his intention to try and sell the Windmill at auction, which is likely to be held in May. We remain optimistic at this outcome because if a buyer appears who wants to run the Windmill as a pub, we would have achieved our goal and the Windmill will have been saved. If a tenant is found by the owner, we would also have achieved our goal and the pub will have been saved. The Windmill is registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) which should provide some protection against change of use from a pub.
If the Windmill fails to sell at auction, N-CEL (our Community Benefit Society) may still manage to secure the freehold. We need to prepare for this outcome. The share offer documentation and a finalised business case would be required at that point. The business case is almost complete and the Steering Group is currently working on the share offer. We’re grateful to Necton Parish Council who recently approved our grant application to cover some of our initial costs.
This update was provided by the Chairperson of the Steering Group.