Frequently asked questions
What the new Step will be like
What is the vision for the new Step?
Our community survey and public events have told us what local people want and this will be the basis on which a tenant is chosen, so that the new business matches the community’s wishes.
Our survey shows people are looking for a family friendly space with a food offering, complemented by music and art, and a range of services. These include providing somewhere for hot-desking, as well as hosting classes, book clubs and support groups.
Who will run the business?
We will find a business experienced at running pubs, bars or cafes to be the tenant. They would take on the day-to-day running of the business and pay us rent. We have multiple prospective tenants interested.
We will be letting potential tenants know what the community wants because we want a tenant that is comfortable with this. It will also be commercially sensible to provide what people want.
Are there tenants interested in renting it?
Yes, we have multiple prospective tenants interested. If you are interested in becoming our tenant, please email Ellie Sillett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why not run it ourselves as a community?
We don’t have the experience to run a pub/bar/restaurant ourselves. It is a far less risky option to get an experienced professional tenant to run the venue in line with what the community wants.
Who will be designing the layout?
We are in the process of engaging an architect. We have a number of local architects who are interested in the project and we will be choosing one in the coming weeks.
How will the tenant selection process work?
The Management Committee will put together a set of requirements that we will judge tenants against, to make sure we find one that is the best fit for the community. They will interview potential tenants and assess their business plan against our criteria. We will also carry out due diligence on them. The Society’s members will then approve the final selection.
What will be the impact on the rest of Myddleton Road?
We want reopening The Step will help to revitalise the road, by bringing footfall to the area. We will be careful to complement other businesses and we are setting aside money for community benefit and activities each year for the local area. These will be decided on by the membership, but could include subsidising events and festivals, greening the area, improving the community garden or funding local community activities. These should all be positive for Myddleton Road and the wider area as a whole.
Will there be cultural activities like live music and art?
Yes! This came across strongly in our community survey as something that people wanted, so it will be a key part of our discussions with potential tenants.
I am interested in running the venue - what should I do?
Please email Ellie Sillett at email@example.com to express your interest and get more information.
Buying and refurbishing the building
What organisation will own the property?
We have set up Myddleton Road Community Benefit Society which will own the property. Everyone in the community is able to become a shareholder, so we will own it together.
How much will building and refurbishment cost?
We expect the total cost to be £500,000. Unfortunately, the state of the property is not what it was when The Step closed and a major renovation job is required.
We have got a property valuation by a surveyor and brought in someone whose job is to buy property to negotiate on our behalf to make sure we are getting the best price possible for the building.
Why not let someone else rent it privately to bring it back?
The property was gutted by the current owner, under the expectation that they would be granted permission to turn the property into flats and is not willing to invest in returning the property to its previous state. By removing existing fixtures, fittings, the kitchen, bar and furniture, it is prohibitively costly for a tenant to take on the premises in its current condition on a short lease at the level of rent sought by the owner.
Who will run the renovation project?
We are in the process of engaging an architect. We have a number of local architects who are interested in the project and we will be choosing one in the coming weeks. They will manage the renovation of the building.
What if it costs more than anticipated?
We will be leaving a contingency in our budget to allow for unanticipated cost increases.
What is a Community Benefit Society and Community Shares?
A Community Benefit Society is similar to company in that it has shareholders, but different as it is not for profit and democratic.
Shares are withdrawable, meaning a member can request to withdraw their money at a later date once the society has built reserves. The shareholder may potentially benefit from interest payments in the meantime, similar to how a loan works. Shareholders become members of Myddleton Road Community Benefit Society with a vote on the election of the Management Committee and other important issues.
How do I buy shares?
You can buy shares by filling in the investment form on this website and making a payment either by card or bank transfer.
What involvement will I have as a member?
A Community Benefit Society is democratic by nature, with one member one vote. A management committee voted on by members will ultimately make day-to-day decisions, informed by the views of members and the community.
Membership gives you the right to:
- Attend AGMs and other members’ meetings and have your say on the running of the organisation.
- Elect the Management Committee at the AGM.
- Stand for election to the Management Committee.
Will I get discounts as a member?
As part of the tenant selection process, we’ll ask each what benefits they’ll consider offering to members. These benefits will need to be balanced against the need for the tenant to run a profitable and sustainable business.
Are there other successful community owned pubs/bars?
Yes, there are dozens of community owned pubs around the country, the nearest being the Antwerp Arms in Tottenham.
Community pubs are a resilient form of business and there were 119 in the UK at the end of 2019. The community ownership model has a strong chance of success. The survival rate of community pubs reflect this ‑ since the first community pub opened in 2004 none have yet closed, representing a 100% success rate.
Pay It Forward scheme
To ensure everyone who wants to participate is able to, we will allow investors to donate a minimum shareholding to someone who may not be able to afford the minimum investment.
You can indicate your interest in this on your application form. If you are unable to invest but would like to become a member and are interested in receiving a donated shareholding, please contact us for more information.
How much money do you need to raise?
The aim of the share offer is to raise a minimum of £200,000 with an optimum target of £250,000 and a maximum of £300,000. This is on top of other sources of funding we have secured through grants and a potential loan, to give us a total of £500,000.
When do I need to invest by?
Our share issue ends on 19 March 2023. The current owner is willing to sell to us if we raise the funds by this date. If we are not successful, they aim to sell to another bidder and permanently change the use of the building to a private use, so we won’t get this chance again – please support us now!
Why should I buy community shares?
We need your investment to help purchase and renovate The Step. Without sufficient investment from the community we will be unable to go ahead and ensure that the venue continues as a community asset for the long term.
Over 600 local people have told us they back the project and 350 of them have pledged to become shareholders, so you will be in good company. If we are not successful, we will all lose out as the current owner will look to sell to another bidder and permanently change the use of the building to a private use, so we won’t get this chance again – please support us now!
When will I get my money back?
Shareholders will have withdrawable shares, which means they can choose to withdraw their shares and receive back the money they put in, so long as the Community Benefit Society has the funds available.
We envisage that withdrawals will not be permitted for the first three years, in order to accumulate a healthy level of reserves. From year 4 onwards, our plan is to allow £15,000 to be withdrawn per year. The final amount will take into account the long-term interests of the Society, the need to maintain prudent reserves and the Society’s commitment to community benefit and therefore cannot be guaranteed. Please read our share offer for more information.
What interest can I expect until I get my money back?
Like any business, we aim to be profitable. Shareholders are eligible to receive interest as a cost of capital and shares are withdrawable subject to funds being available and management committee approval. Our rules allow us to pay interest on shares, but the rate must be the minimum required to attract and maintain investment. Our financial forecasts are based on paying an interest rate of 2% from the end of the third year of trading, however the rate will be decided at the time.
This project is not an exercise in generating large or short-term profits and should be regarded as a long-term investment in our community. The main return on your investment will be the preservation of a community asset and a central hub for community social engagement, services and benefits.
What if the business fails?
The business would be run by the tenant, who would agree a monthly rental payment and minimum term length with us. We will build up cash reserves so if the business was no longer able to pay the rent, we will have at least one year of rent covered, giving us time to find a new tenant.
The Step and its predecessor, Henley’s Bar, operated for decades with the only gap in operation being over the last two years as the current owner has attempted to turn the property into flats. This gives us comfort of the long term viability of the business.
How will the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) affect this project?
If The Step reopens, it will give a boost to the existing businesses on Myddleton Road – once again becoming a hub for the community and helping the road to thrive.
We’ve been talking to businesses on Myddleton Road about how we can help make it a thriving local high street again. Many have told us that they’ve been hit hard by the introduction of the LTN, but it has been worst for those who rely on customers from outside the local area. By appealing to a local audience and with the demand we see locally from our survey results, we are confident that our plans will not be affected.
What happens if you don't raise enough funds or cannot go through with the building purchase?
If we don’t raise the funds required or are unable to proceed with the purchase of the property, we will return all funds to members and close the Society. We have separate grant funding to cover the work in the lead up to purchase (e.g. legal work, surveyor) so we won’t be using shareholder funds until and unless we are in a position to go ahead and complete the purchase of the building.
What are the risks for shareholders?
The Society has limited liability. This means the most a member can lose is the amount invested, though we believe even this is highly unlikely. Investors are not liable for any costs such as repairs, or paying debts by the tenant or the society.
If – despite a sound business plan, vigorous and sustained marketing, and the support of members and other customers – the business does not develop as anticipated, then we would be forced to close the business, sell the building and other assets and repay the original investors. Any residual assets would be used for the benefit of the community. This is clearly not an outcome that we seek, nor one that we think is likely, but this possible course of action should give investors some security that in the event of the enterprise being unsuccessful they will recover some or all of their investment.
Who is funding the project with grants?
Our two main funders beyond the community will be a government grant, provided by the Community Ownership Fund and a specialist funder of community businesses, which we expect to be Co-operative and Community Finance who are very supportive of our project and have provided finance to similar projects across the country.
Who is running the project?
Myddleton Road Community Benefit Society is being run by a management committee of local volunteers who care passionately about the project and what it could mean for the local area. They have contributed a large amount of time to the project and the money required to get it started and will have no financial interest in the project beyond investing in shares like everyone else. The team includes business owners and professionals with a broad range of relevant skills. More details on the individuals are available in the share offer document.
Members are entitled to stand for election to the management committee and become part of the running of the project.
Who is advising the management team?
We are being advised and supported by people with experience in commercial property development, architecture, project management, starting community businesses and running local hospitality businesses. Some of these advisors are listed in our share offer document.