|Villagers in Bloxham Oxon have been right royally stitched up by Fuller's the PubCo. "Fuller's bought The Red Lion in 2001, it was successful freehouse and restaurant, the tenants told locals that they struggled to get the PubCo to do any basic maintenance. Marketing the pub Fuller's suggested keeping it going as a pub was more than possible and really laid on the charm calling it 'inn-keeping with tradition' among other lyrical descriptions. However, last September Fuller's closed it, saying "We have now decided to dispose of the property either as a pub or a site for redevelopment". It has now been empty for a year. The villagers of Bloxham created an Industrial Provident Society (IPS) and more than 200 of them chipped in to raise enough to meet the £275,000 valuation for the freehold. With a business plan drawn up they were also able to attract commercial funding for a re-vamp and re-stocking of the premises to reopen it as a community-owned pub. In November 2013 Fuller's turned down their offer! So the villagers went away and got more funding and made another offer of £300,000. Fuller's peculiar response to this was that it would accept if, and only if, the community agreed to an "overage" clause where if the pub was resold within the next 25 years, Fuller's got to take 70% of any increase in its value. The IPS's commercial lenders could not agree to that, so the deal was off. Fuller's said it had held back from a number of substantially higher offers to give the villagers a chance to make their bid and "were disappointed not to have been able to agree terms". The PubCo have now agreed to sell to another party understood to be a property developer. But the locals have not yet lost all hope. If Fuller's or their buyers cannot get planning permission to change the use of the building it may yet come back on to the market as a pub."|
We can only hope that Fuller's are foiled.