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The Latest News

Minutes of Project Meetings:

  Objectives Jun 16 Jun 27 Jul 11 Jul 25 Aug 8 Aug 17 Aug 24 Sep 4 Sep 14      
2017      

December 2017: 

Yarcombe Inn Campaign Update

13 December 2017

The community bid to try and secure the Yarcombe Inn building has reached a critical juncture so Yarcombe Parish Council and its special pub campaign committee feels that the time has is right to share the situation with you all.

After six summer months of feverish activity in which, from a standing start, we have assembled sufficient funds to buy the building at today’s current valuation, created an exciting and viable Business Plan which reflects the wishes and wants of our community and gathered support for our plans from national, regional and local heritage, tourist and government organisations, we started negotiations at the beginning of November to purchase the property.

As almost all of you will be aware, the current owners, earlier this year put an asking price on the building of £385,000 via their estate agents, Greenslade, Taylor Hunt. We, on the other hand, received in October our own independent valuation which was significantly lower and so based our opening offer on this figure.   It was rejected out of hand by the owners.

Our second improved offer, which was still within the valuation range was then submitted and the owners responded with an indication that they may be prepared to consider it – on condition that it buys only part of the building and that the community supports a second planning application by them for change of use to housing for the remainder.

Given that such a proposal would compromise our carefully constructed and credible Business Plan and conflict with the wishes expressed by more than 95% of the community in the recent survey on future plans for the pub, the Parish Council and members of the Campaign Group met in special session to extensively discuss the matter.

The meeting’s decision was unanimous:

·         Our offer represents fair value for the entire property as it now stands.

·        The future viability of the Yarcombe Inn site depends on it providing the local community, passing trade and tourists to the Blackdown Hills with a vibrant mix of pub/cafe, local shop, a significant B&B operation and a Blackdown Hills Visitor Centre supported by the AONB.   Only the entire building delivers this – anything less is untenable.

·        Such a scheme is totally consistent with the parish’s wishes as enshrined in the recently adopted Neighbourhood Plan which highlights the absence of both a village shop and pub from the heart of the community.

This view now been conveyed to the owners by the Parish Council and we await developments.   It is hoped that they will eventually accept the village’s offer which we have decided to leave for the time being, on the table.

However, it is also possible that an unknown third party could step in with an offer for more than the property is currently worth – in which case the Parish Council and the Campaign Committee would look forward to, hopefully, working with them to establish the pub and community hub of the kind envisaged in our Business Plan.

What we believe would be entirely inappropriate, however, would be any sort of change of use to housing on the site.

 

 

Yarcombe Inn Campaign, 2017 Highlights

Since the Yarcombe Inn Came on the market in May 2017 we have-

  • Developed a viable Business Plan to operate the Inn as a pub/café, a shop, a bed and breakfast and a Blackdown hills Visitor centre. This will be sustained by serving the local community, a passing trade and visitors to the Blackdown hills.

  • Consulted with the community on several occasions and received the support of over 95 % for the proposed plans.

  • Set up a Community Benefit Society to manage the operation of the Inn if and when we are able to purchase it.

  • Been featured in the regional press and on Spotlight and BBC Radio Devon.

  • Gained support from Exeter Museum for a partnership in the Yarcombe Inn’s historical interpretation.

  • Obtained an independent valuation of the property.

  • Received specific support for the project from, among others, The Department of Communities and Local Government, East Devon District Councillors, The Blackdown Hills AONB authority and the Plunkett Foundation.

  • Run a successful fund raising campaign including pub hub village events a Crowd Funder, grants and low interest long term government backed loans.

  • Assembled sufficient funds to make two offers for the property which are in line with the independent valuation.

 


November 2017:

Statement from Nick Randle, Parish Council Chairman, 7th Nov 2017:

I am pleased to say that we have now assembled sufficient funds to put in a bid for the Inn which is in line with the independent valuation we have received. This is an amazing milestone in our campaign and a justification for all the long hours of hard work that have been put in over the summer.

All those who have shown a commitment to saving the Inn if and when the community does finally own it you will be recognised within the fabric of the building , invited to the opening party and kept informed  as we move forward into the development phases of the project. 

Thank you so much for helping us to get this far, and now please watch this space!


September / October 2017:

* You are urged to read these documents on The King's Arms, Stockland as they have great relevance to our fight to save the pub!   (See more about their fight on the Stockland website.)

 
Sept 27th:    Planning Refused   Oct 12th:    Public Hearing

 

* Read about our campaign in these editorials published in the press:

 
Introduction   All about "Yarky"

 


August 2017:

The steering group of the Save the Yarcombe Inn Project, led by Nick Randle has been meeting regularly to look into different ways to save the Yarcombe Inn building to become ‘Not just a Pub - a Community Hub’

The following is just a short update of our progress and plans so far.

Progress that the steering groups have made to date includes:

• Investigated possibilities for future uses of the Yarcombe Inn building, all of which include a pub/bar
• Established a range of funding routes
• Set up a crowd funding web site to encourage both support and financial donations
• Been allocated support, thanks to funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government and Power to Change and The Plunkett Foundation.   The support consists of £2,500 start up money and the use of two free specialist advisors.   This award also gives access to further funding of the project of up to £150,000
• Set up fundraising events throughout the Autumn
• Created financial models for a range of uses for the pub

Suggested uses for the Yarcombe Inn include a combination of:

• Pub/Bar
• All day café with high speed internet serving light snacks teas and coffees,
• Business centre facility
• Shop and Post Office selling groceries and some local crafts and cards
• B & B Possibly marketed through airbnb
• Accommodation for senior citizens of the Parish
• Micro Brewery
• Blackdown Hills Visitors Centre

Next steps:

• Comprehensive Consultation through a paper and online questionnaire with Yarcombe and Marsh Parish to receive support for the project, If support is not given by the members of the community the project cannot continue on its current path
• Prepare a full business and financial plan

Key Points:

• The business model is being prepared on the premise that the project needs to be commercially viable and NOT Dependent on community volunteers
• We have to have the support of the community to proceed
• Please visit our newly revised Crowdfunder page.

If you have any questions or would like further information please contact Cllr Maggie Tomkinson Tel: 01404-861786 Email: Maggie@inpartnership.org, who will endeavour to answer your questions or steer you to someone who can.

The campaign committee has launched a community survey to gauge opinion on its evolving proposals for the operation of the Yarcombe Inn in the future.   The survey contains an explanation of the current proposals alongside a range of alternatives.   All members of the Community in Yarcombe and Marsh and all friends of the Yarcombe Inn from elsewhere are asked to spend some time appraising our proposals and giving us their views.   It takes 10 minutes and will inform you as well as us about where we are heading.   The survey can be found here or on the green button above..   Please complete it if you can!

 

     

July 2017:

This month has seen an enormous amount of activity, including the formation of subcommittees on the Steering Group and the creation of a Crowdfunder page (now extended via a second Crowdfunder page) to accept donations.   On the webite yarcombe.net, seven dedicated pages, with priority over the existing pages, have been added, all displaying a prominent red Donate button.   The Facebook and Twitter accounts have been publicising the campaign, using the advertising above, which has been posted on various Facebook Groups and Pages such as those from Chard, Taunton, Honiton and others more further afield.

In the press and media there have been articles on the Western Morning News and interviews on Radio Devon and BBC Spotlight about the pub and its campaign.   A Save The Yarcombe Inn Special Edition has been distributed locally and to subscribers of the Yarcombe Voices magazine.

Funding organisations have been contacted and applications for funding have been made.   A representative of the Plunkett Foundation has attended one of the Committee meetings to give advice on how the grant's likelihood of success can be maximised.

Three banners have been purchased and put on the approaches to the village on the A30.   One or more may be utilised at the Terrier Racing on August 5th when it is planned to have a Yarcombe Inn gazebo where donations can be made.   Flyers/Posters are in the process of being printed for display in houses, cars and shops sympathetic to our cause.

 


June 2017:

Pleased to report that the first step in saving our pub has been successful.   50+ villagers attended the Parish Council meeting on 5th June to give overwhelming support for triggering the option which gives us 6 months to raise finance.   115 people from the village joined the Save The Yarcombe Inn campaign with a further 126 from outside, bringing the total up to 241.   See the Parish Council's statement below:

Following the overwhelming support for The Yarcombe Inn, Yarcombe Parish Council has unanimously decided to give notice to EDDC and the owners of the Yarcombe Inn that it wishes to be regarded as a potential bidder for the property.   We have now invoked the moratorium period of 6 months before sale with EDDC, in order to explore our options for doing so.

We are now urgently asking if anyone in the community would wish to be on the Yarcombe Parish Council Sub-Committee with 3 Councillors to take this forward. Should you be interested, please urgently email your interest and specialisms that you feel will assist the Council members in securing the Yarcombe Inn for our future generations.   Your responses are required please by Monday 12th June to yarcombe.clerk@yahoo.com.

Additionally, we are aware so may of you have lots of ideas about the Yarcombe Inn and its future we would please urge you to tell us your thoughts as soon as possible as we need to start pulling all these ideas together immediately. We would be hugely grateful if you could email
yarcombe.clerk@yahoo.com
with any ideas / innovative thoughts, you may have.

 


May 2017:

STOP PRESS!! The future of THE YARCOMBE INN is in YOUR hands!

Don't miss the Village Meeting on 5th June

 

The Parish Council has just been informed that The Yarcombe Inn is about to be placed on the market again.   Residents may recall that the Parish Council had applied for the Inn to be registered as an Asset of Community Value, which means that if it comes onto the market the Community has a period of six months to decide if it wishes to put together a bid for it and to notify the owners and the District Council of that intention.   If the council does give such notice then the property may not be sold for a period of six months so that the community has time to raise the funding and negotiate a sale if appropriate.

The Parish Council plans to discuss this at its meeting at 8pm on Monday 5th June and to decide whether to invoke the first stage of the process. Clearly this decision depends very much on how strongly Yarcombe and Marsh residents feel about the future of the Yarcombe Inn and whether the council would have general support for an attempt to secure it for the community.   There are ways that funds can be raised for communities to buy their pub but being a significant long-term commitment it is something that needs to be carefully considered.

The Council would like to invite everyone who has an interest in expressing a view about the future of the Yarcombe Inn to come to the meeting so that it can gauge opinion and take the best decision it can on behalf of everyone.   If, for any reason you are unable to attend the meeting but nonetheless wish to express a view please do so by email to the Parish Clerk, Sarah Jane Martin, at yarcombe.clerk@yahoo.com

 

We will keep you updated on developments in Yarcombe Voices, e-voices and here on the Parish website www.yarcombe.net.


March - April 2017:

No news.


February 2017:

In a hint at complying with the conditions in EDDC's refusal notice, the owners have stated that they will offer the premises up for lease with the intention of allowing any interested party to run the Yarcombe Inn as a public house again.   However, this is some way away from the hoped-for solution of a sale or the employment of a pub manager, and no timetable or details of proposed rent have been revealed.   (Remember the arrangement offered in October 2015 was rejected as the rent and fixed term were considered excessive.)   It was pointed out that this arrangement could now result in zero interest if an unrealistic rent is demanded, allowing the owners to return to the "not viable" stance with EDDC.   A letter will be sent to the owners asking when their plan is likely to be actioned.


January 2017:

The owners have replied after several months.   This will be discussed at the February PC meeting.


October - December 2016:

No news.


September 2016:

The situation at The Yarcombe Inn was a subject brought up at the Parish Council Meeting on 5th September (see point 6 of the September Minutes on the Parish Council web page).   The owners have apparently made no attempt to meet the conditions detailed in the refusal notice and it was agreed to mail them an enquiry from the Parish Council.


June - August 2016:

No news.


May 2016:

The Application to convert the pub into a dwelling has been REFUSED by EDDC.   The developers are expected to appeal and in fact have already revealed in their original application their intentions to resort to other methods to achieve their aims.   The most important point in the refusal notice was that non-viability had not been proven and that an attempt must be made to run the premises as a public house.   Watch this space....


January - April 2016:

The Planning Application remains with EDDC, with no indication of a decision as yet.


December 2015:

The Planning application currently with EDDC has received scant support from locals.   By 19th December the proposal to turn the Inn into a single dwelling had received 30 objections.   Below is a summary and by no means a complete list of the points made:

  1. The Inn is a Grade II Listed building of historical importance and a landmark to travellers and visitors alike.  
  2. An Asset of Community Value certification has been granted by EDDC.   Had this been submitted by the Parish Council at the appropriate time the current situation may not have arisen.   The building has stood for hundreds of years and would not have crumbled to dust just because it hadn't sold for a few months.   This should not have been a consideration in the decision about when to apply for the ACV or whether or not to sell to developers.  
  3. The present owners bought a pub.   It should remain as such.  
  4. Previous owners were refused a similar application for partial conversion to residential status.   Why should this be treated any differently?  
  5. Apart from local trade, just with the number of caravans and holiday lets in the area the potential viability of the pub cannot possibly be ruled out.  
  6. There are already very few facilities in Yarcombe.   The loss of the Inn would be a serious blow to the community.  
  7. The inference that replacing the pub with a house helps the housing shortage is laughable and would not in fact house any additional people at all.  
  8. The current owners did not attempt to run a pub before applying for residential status, proving that they never intended to do so.   After purchasing they stated that the pub was not a viable business.   It is inconceivable that experienced business people, if serious about running a pub, would not have carried out such investigations before purchasing.  
  9. The Parish Council, CAMRA, and Conservation bodies object to the application.  
  10. There are several inaccuracies in the application.   The Community Inn did not fail as claimed.   There is not a regular bus service in Yarcombe, just a weekly shopper's bus to Honiton.   The proximity and usefulness of the pubs in surrounding areas has been overplayed and in one case quotes a pub that has been closed for some time.  
  11. Much of the financial problems encountered in running the pub in recent years can be attributed to the economic climate, plummeting value of public houses in general, inexperienced management and latterly, the reputational damage caused by an unrelated criminal charge which, although dismissed, still had a seriously negative impact on local trade.  
  12. The application is in conflict with the National Planning Policy Framework and both the Existing and Emerging EDDC Development Plan.  
  13. The Agents did not seek the most suitable purchasers and in particular did not consult other under-bidders to see if they would increase their offer.   Why not?  

At the time of writing, all documents and correspondence are available on the EDDC website, although one written by the Agents on the financial aspects and viability of the pub has been withheld.   Bearing in mind the dubious claims elsewhere in the planning application, let's hope residents will be able to challenge the claims in this document if necessary and receive assurance from the council that any such challenge is taken into consideration before a decision is made.


November 2015:

A Planning application has been received at EDDC requesting residential status for the Inn.   Click here to view, or go to the East Devon District Council website and follow the appropriate links.   Please help by sending your objections before the deadline of 12th December 2015:

planningeast@eastdevon.gov.uk


October 2015:

A public meeting was held in the Village Hall on Friday 23rd October.   The Parish Council notes from this meeting are below:

Following a well attended village meeting on 23 October and from the many comments aired by the attendees and the possible options, two were put to the vote.

The first was to -

‘Negotiate with the Woods to acquire a part of the property which could then be run as a small pub for the village’

Whilst this has been what many people in Yarcombe would like to see as the way forward, the new owners had advised that their basic requirement was a seven year full repairing lease at a yearly rental of £15,000 which was considered excessive.

Due probably to the cost and commitments involved, this option received only six votes.

The second was to –

‘Do our own thing with a ’Pop up Pub’ in the village hall as an interim measure and try and get a contribution from the Woods’

This option was a solution that, with the blessing and support from the village hall committee, would allow a start in a small way in the very near future, with a flexible budget and without a long term financial and legal commitment and allow the venture to develop and grow to suit the village participation. It could also be transferred back into the Yarcombe Inn itself at a future date should this be considered as a viable part of the future of the landmark village building development.

This proposal received some 35 votes.

It was declared that the second proposal was carried and that it was adopted.

The next steps and the way forward –

The sub-committee are to report back to the Parish Council and having undertaken their role, it is not anticipated that they will meet again.

Mervin Edgecombe has volunteered to take up the challenge of making the Pop Up Pub a reality and the current intention is to do this with a small team and Merv is seeking enthusiastic volunteers to join him in various capacities and possibly to work towards a Yarcombe Village Hub.

Several ideas have already been put forward since the village meeting and if you have any suggestions please let Merv know.

Also if you are interested in becoming involved, or have particular experience, expertise, talent or contacts, to take this exciting venture forward, please e mail on merv@standfast.co.uk or ring him on 861 818

All villagers, especially those new to Yarcombe and the ’younger generation’ are most welcome to join in and it is hoped that we can make the Pop Up Pub/Hub a great success and that it may be an interim enterprise if the support and enthusiasm from the village and surrounding homes and businesses could lead to the Yarcombe Inn once again opening as a pub, albeit in a smaller capacity and as part of the new owners other possible business ventures.


September 2015:

The subcommittee reported their findings at the Parish Council meeting at the Village Hall on Monday 7th September.   EDDC have granted the request to make the pub an Asset of Community Value (ACV).   You can download the ACV from the Parish Council page.


August 2015:

Following the public announcement by Mr and Mrs Wood in early July that they intended to apply to East Devon Dist Council to have the Yarcombe Inn premises re-designated to a dwelling status, the Parish Council also applied to the council for the pub to be listed as an Asset of Community Value*.   This is in the process of being considered by their planning officers and a decision will be reached on September 2nd.

In the meantime, the Parish Council also set up a special sub-committee to research and investigate all the ramifications of the Woods’ intended course of action as well as liaise with various organisations, such as CAMRA, and other villages which have or are fighting to save their pubs from extinction.   Once this exercise has been completed and a decision on the ACV received from EDDC, the Parish Council will hold a meeting in September to fix a date for a full village meeting when all aspects of the matter can be discussed and a concerted course of action decided upon.

* Under new planning legislation of April, 2015, if a pub is listed as an Asset of Community Value it then requires full planning permission before it can be either demolished or changed to any other use.   This listing lasts for a maximum of five years.   The listing also gives the community certain rights to be able to put together a formal bid to try and purchase the pub from its current owners.

 

July 2015:

Message from the new owners of The Yarcombe Inn

July 5th 2015:

We are the new owners and over the last month or so many people have called to say hello and enquire what our plans will be.   We have been exploring the building to establish the full extent of what has to be done to preserve the fabric and there is much work ahead.   It is a large building and not in very good condition having been neglected for many years.   We have taken advice and consulted with various professionals.   Six years ago the then owners recognised that the size of the building made it unviable as a public house and applied for planning permission to use what had been the stables as a dwelling but this was refused by East Devon Council despite being supported by many villagers.    When it was run by the community there must have been a great spirit and sense of achievement and despite all the hard work for all involved, it is a great shame that did not keep going.  The overheads have continued to spiral and we have concluded that it has no future as a pub having failed as a business several times in recent years.   We are instructing agents to apply for permission for use as a dwelling and obviously you will be able to make representations to the Council in due course.   As a half way step it would be possible to use the building as a restaurant/tearooms/gallery as permitted development and neither would we totally rule out leasing the building, but a credible business plan would have to be put to the agents Stonesmiths.

We know this will disappoint many people but if you have reasonable suggestions we will certainly listen.

Peter & Freddie Wood
07973327812