On 25th November, CMCH held its Annual General Meeting. This one did the job for both 2020 and 2021, as we had not been able to gather in the Erskine Centre last year, due to Covid-19 restrictions. Several Members braved the cold and joined the Management Committee for the AGM. Some useful discussions were had, and, as our Members will be aware, there was a vote on the future of the Community Benefit Society: whether to wind up, or to continue our campaign. Quite a few people had posted or emailed in their votes. Altogether, there were 25 votes in favour of continuing and 11 votes against, and thus a clear mandate of 69% to continue our campaign.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and hope to see you at some events in 2022… watch this space!
Hello again - we are still here! Obviously, the pandemic has got in the way of our fundraising efforts over the last year, and given the hardships that pubs have been enduring recently, in a way it was lucky that we had not just opened a new community pub. Personally, I have been enjoying supporting the Chevington Greyhound through the current lockdown, by ordering their delicious takeaway curries.
As for the Marquis, we are still talking to the owner and doing as much preparation as we can for future funding applications. We have let Mr White know about the open window at the back and the potential water damage inside - thank you to all those who got in touch to tell us about it.
We had to postpone our second AGM - we will hold it when lockdown is lifted sufficiently for us to do it safely.
I hope to see you all in person again, before TOO much longer! Spring is here.
Thank you for your patience and apologies for the long silence! We have not been idle, but life does sometimes get in the way of volunteer projects. However, I am writing now because I have a bit of news to share.
Back in December, an Application for Lawful Development Certificate for Existing Use was made to West Suffolk Council. This was an attempt to get the Marquis Cornwallis registered as A3 Use (Restaurants and Cafes) instead of as A4 Use (Public House). It was not a normal planning application, so there was no opportunity for public statements or objections. However, I thought you would be interested to hear that the application was refused last Friday, on the grounds of insufficient evidence. It is also interesting to note that the application was made by one Ben Barnard of EPB Developments Ltd, who claimed to be the owner of the pub on his application. However, so far as we know, Steven White is still living in the pub and still owns it. Mysterious. You can view the application, along with the Decision Notice and other documents, here.
We are still putting together improved costings in preparation for presentation to the Parish Council before too long. We will let you know how it goes!
Best wishes and good health to you all in these unsettling times,
I have a bit of positive news to share!
As I think you know, we have been talking with Chedburgh Parish Council about the possibility of it taking out a Public Works loan to buy the pub and land, with a view to refurbishing it and leasing it out to CMCH to run as a community pub. As a result, the Parish Council have asked us to provide more detailed plans and costings for the refurbishment than were in our business plan. We need an architect, quantities surveyor and an adviser to tell us what fittings we will need for the bar and kitchen, and then we need to prepare costings based on their reports. Once the Parish Council has reviewed what we give them, they will decide whether they like the plan enough to open a public consultation. Their final decision on whether or not to apply for the loan will depend on the result of the public consultation.
Back at the start of the Summer, we were awarded a grant called the Reach Fund by Social Investment Business, which would cover the costs of getting in these three professionals to advise us on the refurbishment, but since then we have been stuck because the owner of the pub, Steven White, would not allow us access. However, this week we have finally successfully negotiated permission to access the pub – hooray! So now we can go ahead and spend the grant money to prepare the costings, which will no doubt take a couple of months itself, but at least we are moving forwards at last.
Thank you to those of you who have attended our events over the Summer and bought raffle tickets or tea and cake at the art exhibition in Chevington. It all helps to keep the campaign going and we are grateful for your support. We are very pleased to welcome a new member of our management committee, Rachel Wood, the artist who hosted the exhibition. We have also sadly said goodbye to two members, Emma Clark and Hollie Pritchard, and we thank them very much for their help so far.
Talking of art, we have been thrilled to receive a donation of a watercolour painting of the Marquis, from the artist Carol Goodchild. We are working on a way to display it for you all to see.
Finally, you may have noticed some activity at the pub recently – don’t be concerned, it is the owner, not squatters!
All the best,