Now Open! – please find us at www.thetallyhohungerford.co.uk

We are delighted to announce that The Tally Ho pub in Hungerford Newtown has now re-opened. With a new bar, new kitchen and new loos (including disabled), total redecoration and new furniture, the pub looks marvellous. We think that it will quickly return to being a really valuable local asset – but not just for us – for all the passing motorists as well, including those from the M4.

As a community pub we are passionate in supporting other local businesses. We are fortunate in having some excellent small-scale food producers in the surrounding countryside and wherever possible we will offer fresh locally-sourced produce with the name of the supplier featured in the menu. Dishes will be home-made with monthly menu changes that reflect availability of seasonal produce.

We have some more original food ideas coming, so watch this space!

A range of cask ales, many from local brewers, will be maintained to a high standard and supported by a variety of bottled ales and lagers. A decent selection of wines and spirits will be available. We aim to achieve and keep the Cask Marque standard for beer husbandry and be recognised by CAMRA as a server of quality ales.

Information and directions can be found on www.thetallyhohungerford.co.uk. For table reservations, please call us on 01488 682312. 

We look forward enormously to welcoming you all back to our great new local. Cheers!

The Tally Ho
Hungerford Newtown
RG17 0PP

Work in progress!

Three months have passed so quickly.

We’re so sorry that there has been such a long gap with no news. The last 3 months have been very, very hectic. Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers, The Tally Ho is looking very different. We have finished the demolition stage and are starting on the refurbishment. The outside is being repainted and tidied up, but parts of the inside are very changed. It has a new kitchen, new loos (including a disabled one) and a new bar. Upstairs has been rearranged into a Manager’s flat and 2 en-suite letting rooms.

Our 66 shareholders and army of volunteers have helped to make this possible. However, we do still need more funding. Some of the work on the pub requires more specialist knowledge than we have, e.g. carpenters and plasterers, plus, the kitchen needs a lot of very expensive equipment. If you or anyone you know can help with contacts in the catering industry, who might be able to get us discounts or equipment at cost price, please get in touch on admin@savethetally.org.uk. You can now ring the Tally on its old tel no, 01488 682312. We need a lot of practical help on site as well, please.

The opening date is still a little way off, but we will try and keep you informed on a more regular basis.

The Tally Ho Community Pub Ltd.

We’re in business!

We are delighted to be able to tell you that as of last week we exchanged contract with Acres Developments Ltd for the freehold of The Tally Ho!

While this is the culmination of a lot of effort and negotiation it is only the completion of the first stage.

We still need further funding in order to refit and stock the pub. Our aim is to reopen the pub in the next couple of months. We plan to spend the coming weeks on recruitment, refitting and refurbishment to enable the Tally to once again become the traditional village pub we loved.

Your team is working on a detailed concept plan which will be the template that will define the pub over the coming years.

If you are able to lend a hand with the refitting, rewiring, painting or decorating (or just making tea for those who can!), then please let us know and Monty will add you to his list of volunteers.

Additionally, please don’t forget that the second funding round is still open. Twenty shareholders took part in the first round, which gave us enough of a deposit to purchase the premises. A further twenty-three (some from as far away as Nottinghamshire and Wales), have so far subscribed to the second round. The minimum shareholding is just one one-hundred pound share. Don’t forget that if you’re a taxpayer you should get tax relief at 30% on this investment, so your £100 share actually ends up costing you only £70! There is more detail on this offer at www.savethetally.org.uk/buy-shares/ .

So, if you’re volunteering for labour duties or a shareholding or both, please email us with your phone number at admin@savethetally.org.uk and we’ll be in contact.

Your support in all its forms is as ever appreciated and we look forward to hearing from you in the next few days.

Yours excitedly!  

The Save the Tally team.

Second Round Funding Begins

Your chance to be a Tally Ho part owner

Our progress to date has been good:

  • Tally Ho Community Pub Limited has been incorporated
  • Twenty+ key investors have provided initial funding of around £150,000
  • We have the support of key organisations
  • We have sufficient capital to purchase, with loan funding currently in negotiation
  • We are in renewed negotiation with the developers

Now we want to open up ownership of the Tally Ho! to a wider group and use the additional money raised to fit out the pub and provide working capital.

We would like to raise another £50,000 which will be issued in £100 ordinary shares. There is a government scheme in place to encourage investment. It is called the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). The main benefits are that after a qualifying period, 30% of your investment can be offset against your income tax bill; there are also capital gains and inheritance tax benefits. We will establish an escrow account (a bit like a trust account) to receive the funds; thus if we fail to purchase the pub, your funds can be repaid.

If we successfully purchase the pub, then your shares will be issued.

This is your opportunity to be a PART-OWNER of the TALLY! To take part, simply click this link and send off the resulting e-mail. You will be contacted by a member of our team who will look after the rest. We will be closing this round of investment once we have sufficient funds, so please don’t leave it too late.

Pub of the Year?

We were all delighted … and very amused to discover that The Tally Ho had received a nomination for the CAMRA West Berkshire Community Pub of the Year! The Tally Ho is of course closed at present, but the nomination was to acknowledge the tremendous fight that is taking place to re-open it.

Another Battle Won, But The War Goes On

Lots to tell you this week.

Certificate Of Lawfulness

Good news indeed! We are delighted to report that on the 18th February, the application for a Certificate of Lawfulness was refused. This Certificate had been applied for by Acres Developments on 20th December 2012, seeking to confirm that the property was now an estate agency and that this change of use was lawful. West Berkshire Council produced a very detailed report of their decision, based on the objection letters received and their own site research.

Their report can be viewed at www.westberks.gov.uk, planning application ref: 12/03074/CERTE, under the delegated report section. Alternatively, if you contact us through the www.savethetally.org.uk website, we can email you a copy.

Among the findings by the Council, they outlined that:

  • In all but one site visit by the Council, the building was locked and unoccupied, with no display boards showing properties for sale or let, typical of an estate agency.
  • The estate agency was not registered with either of the professional bodies for estate and letting agents.
  • Nor were they listed on any of the national property websites such as Right Move or Prime Location.
  • The Council called the advertised phone number a number of times and each time the call was answered by a person based in Poole.
  • The property appeared to remain as an unoccupied and closed public house.

The report concluded that:

“Evidence obtained by the Local Planning Authority supports the finding above that there is no estate agency business operating from the Property in accordance with Class A2 of the Use Classes of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended)”.

This makes a third success for Save the Tally campaign:

  • Withdrawal by the developers of their application for residential development in the face of massive protest.
  • Addition of The Tally Ho to the register of Community Assets, giving us a six month window to field a bid in the event of a sale by the developer.
  • And now, refusal by West Berkshire Council of the Certificate Of Lawfulness.

And we have more to come.

Some of you may have seen Director of Hungerford Estate Agents, Nikita Mitson quoted in the Newbury Weekly News a couple of weeks ago as saying that she had no prior connection to Acres Developments and said “I heard about the premises through business connections”. She certainly did! Her father is Paul Mitson, Managing Director of Acres Developments.

We are interested to see that Jacqueline Mitson, Paul Mitson’s wife is listed as the Director of Milton Estate Agents. Milton Estate Agents are located in Milton Under Wychwood in the premises known to most of us as The Quart Pot pub. The Quart Pot is another acquisition of Acres Developments, also with a failed residential planning application.

The circular

We note that Hungerford Estate Agents website now shows their first property is on the books. They’ve also taken on their first staff member. Co-incidentally, a recent search on her name showed someone of exactly the same name living at the address of the property they now have on their website!

It’s clear that Acres Developments still underestimate the strength of feeling in Hungerford Newtown. They recently sent a circular around, warmly welcoming villagers to their new business, offering to buy local properties!

Finally, some of you may have seen the report last week by the BBC’s Inside Out team highlighting communities and their fight to save their local pubs in the South. Two of the three cases featured have won their fight and won back their pubs which are now proving to be successful ventures.

We remain hopeful that we will soon be able to resume a meaningful dialogue with Acres Developments and come to an agreement which will satisfy both parties.

The Tally Ho Community Pub company is now properly established and already in a position to make an offer should the opportunity arise. The board has decided to invite further capital and contributions in a second round of funding in the coming weeks and we will keep you posted on that opportunity. If you’d like to know more meanwhile, please contact us via the website.

The Tally – Some Progress!

Dear Supporters,

Firstly, enormous thanks to everyone who submitted a letter of objection to the West Berkshire Council Planning portal recently. With more than 30 and still counting we’re sure that Acres Developments have clearly got the message that we want our pub back! One good by-product of our campaign is that Acres have last week removed their unsightly chain-link fence and some of the window boarding in order to appear more like a genuine business. Looks more like a genuine pub to us!

While we’re all waiting with bated breath to hear the official result from WBC of our campaign to have the Certificate of Lawfulness refused, we’re able to pass on one piece of very good news. We have heard this week that our request for the Tally to be put on the community assets register has been granted. This means that we now have a Community Right to Bid should the premises be put up for sale. In turn, that means that we would have a six month window in which to put together a bid and financing. In turn this makes it less attractive to potential buyers of the site.

Here’s hoping that WBC turn Acres Developments down again. Fingers crossed!

The Tally Ho Needs Your Help Again!

The Tally Ho! is under renewed attack by Acres Developments, which once again requires a united front from all our Tally Ho supporters.

As reported in our last update, Acres Developments were attempting to set up an estate agents. This would be a change of use from A4 to A2 through a legal loophole which doesn’t require planning permission. However, they have now applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness to rubber stamp this change of use. We must object.

The WBC website has full details.

Once again, letters of objection are required by 23rd January. We are aware that this is only 10 days away but please, please, please find half an hour to register your comments.

We have copies of objection letters from previous such change of use requests which we can supply as a source of reference, if you wish. Please contact us through the “Contact Us” link on this website.

This estate agency does not appear to be the existing business which it is described as within the application provided by Acres Developments. There are a handful of plastic signs on the fencing and building which claim the office is open. However, much of the time the gate in the fence which they have erected around the property is closed. A Hampshire phone number is advertised on these temporary signs. A local resident also reports that there are no properties on their books and that they are still looking for staff. It is a curious choice of position when Hungerford is so well supplied with High Street estate agents within the town at much more accessible locations.

What sort of estate agency is this?

We would hope that the National and Local policies with regards to rural settlements and community assets which safeguarded the Tally Ho in the original refusal to allow residential development, would still stand for this application. The Tally Ho remains our last social centre left in Hungerford Newtown. We do believe that this latest change of use application is merely an interim step taken by the developers, before they move to progress their original housing plans, which were previously refused.

Please send your letters of objection to:
Planning and Countryside Service
West Berkshire Council
Council Offices
Market Street
Newbury
RG14 5LD

e-mail – planapps@westberks.gov.uk

Application Number: 12/03074/CERTE

In the words of Brandon Lewis MP (Minister of Pubs)
“The Government recognises the important role that local assets, such as community pubs, play in strengthening community relationships and encouraging wider social action, and is working to help protect such assets where they are valued by their local communities”.

The Fight Goes On To Save The Tally

Thanks to everyone who wrote letters of support to the Planning Inspectorate. The support was overwhelming and as a result, Acres Developments have withdrawn their appeal.

This is very good news! However, the bad news is that under the Town and Country Permitted Development rights, Paul Mitson (Acres Developments) seems to have shelved his housing plans and instead appears now to be setting up an estate agents within The Tally Ho. This is exploiting a loophole in the planning laws whereby a public house (classed as A4 use in planning laws) can be changed to A2 use (Professional Services) without requiring planning permission. Sadly pubs are being converted at an alarming rate into alternative businesses via this loophole, which is receiving a lot of attention in the National Press.

Needless to say, we are not giving in! We have been in touch with the Minister of Pubs and our local MP Richard Benyon and will continue to fight to save our community pub. It is not always just a question of money!

We wish all our readers a Happy Christmas and are only sorry that we won’t be celebrating it with you in The Tally Ho.

Time Is Running Out …

As already reported, the closing date for objection letters to the Planning Inspectorate is this Friday 23rd November. The address is
Planning Inspectorate,
Room 3/06 Kite Wing Temple Quay House,
The Square,
Temple Quay,
Bristol BS1 6PN
Please quote reference number – APP/W0340/A/12/2184407/NWF.
You will need to send 3 copies of your letter, on A4 paper please.

It is vitally important at this stage to continue our campaign in support of our pub, The Tally Ho, remaining the vital village community asset it has always been. We would like to stress that we have support not only from local people but also Hungerford Town Council, West Berkshires Core Strategy Plan (July 2012) and the National Planning Policy Framework (March 2012) – both of which outline the need to protect and maintain community assets and the vitality of rural villages.

The working party has now set up a limited company - The Tally Ho Community Pub Ltd. We already have a number of interested investors but are also open to new ones. If you wish to be involved, or can offer help in any way, please get in touch through the “contact us” page.

Would Be Developer Goes To Appeal

Acres Developments, the present owners of The Tally Ho have launched an appeal against the refused planning permission to convert the building into 3 x 3 bed houses.

In a prominently displayed article on the front page of the Newbury Weekly News on October  5th, the developer ridicules the villagers bid to buy it back and also the West Berks planners who have turned the application down. They claim that the refusal is a knee jerk reaction to the objections received and the importance of the public house is not at the level of the objections.

It’s now crucial for us to galvanise even more support to face this appeal. If you haven’t yet written to outline your backing for The Tally Ho remaining a public house, please do so. If you have already written, you can still send an additional letter. All letters must be sent to the address below, by 23rd November, quoting the ref APP/W0340/A/12/2184407/NWF:
Planning Inspectorate,
Room 3/06 Kite Wing Temple Quay House,
The Square,
Temple Quay,
Bristol BS1 6PN

We would stress that in our plans for the future of The Tally Ho as a freehold property, we have a totally new business plan without the restrictions of a tied house. These plans will make it of even greater value to the community.

So please show  your support by writing to the address above by 23rd November. We have 4 weeks until the deadline for letters.