Here is an abbreviated version of the meeting minutes, held in Ryton Village Church Hall last week. They have been kindly supplied by Colin Cheesman
Open Meeting re. Ye Olde Cross Inn, Ryton.
8.Feb.2018. 19:00hrs.Church Hall, Ryton Village
Chair – Colin Cheesman/ Richard Taylor: Guest – Liz Twist MP: Minutes – Liz Smith
Attendance – An amazing 100+ residents of Ryton and surrounding area
BELOW IS A SHORTENED VERSION THE MAIN DISCUSSION POINTS AND SUGGESTIONS TO COME OUT OF THE MEETING. FULL MINUTES HAVE BEEN RECORDED AND ARE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
1/ Why has pub closed so many times in last 2/3 years?
Inconsistency of opening hours
Lack of entertainment due to restrictions imposed by Gateshead Council seemingly despite efforts made to comply with Noise Abatement Notice served on Enterprise Inns (Emotive discussion)
Lack of initiative/ effort by some previous tenants to attract customers (Lack of food offer in particular)
2/ What do successful pubs do to make them viable?
Very few pubs can survive on beer alone. Current nationwide figures show that the average pubs turnover is currently 60% food and 40% drink. This is anticipated to extend to 75/25
General consensus was a good quality food offer
Entertainment (See above)
3/ What is the background to the current situation?
Owners Enterprise Inns are looking for a new licensee, preferably to work with the community (The group MUST have a licensee from within or outside to take over the pub)
Liz Twist MP is in direct contact with Enterprise Inns in support of our potential bid
Enterprise Inns are to discuss putting the pub up for disposal (Sale) on 15th Feb. Liz Twist MP has request them to wait to see if we can formulate a bid. The would not commit
The pub has not maintained enough “wet” sales in order to stay open (See Point 1)
Could the importance of the pub to the village qualify to make it an “Asset of community value”?
4/ What could be done to attract more customers?
Entertainment. Current situation is no entertainment in upstairs function room and limited entertainment in downstairs bar lounge due to restrictions placed on Enterprise Inns by Gateshead Council
Food – As earlier discussed a good quality offer. Other possibilities are to attract an outside restaurateur (possibly a chain), Inviting local student chefs to put on theme nights
Tea shop during the day to attract groups of walkers regularly seen around the village green
Promote and make pub available for community based activities
5/ What finance will be required to go forward with an offer?
Between £5 – 10000 start up costs (this could rise depending on the type of agreement)
Enterprise Inns rent starting at £100 per week rising to £350 per week (No timescale given)
Rent can be Free of tie (i.e not tied to Enterprise for stock), but no maintenance of pub
OR – Tied in (i.e. Tied to Enterprise for stock) with maintenance of pub included
Running costs (rent, rates, utilities, stock) Approx £1000 per week BEFORE wages
6/ What things can we do to help make this happen?
Establish a community working group with a strong enthusiastic leader including people with expertise and skills relevant to the project
Issue shares in beer/ wine tokens. 30 tokens @ approx £100. Suggestion very well received
Put a solid business plan together
Check what grants/ loans are available for community projects such as these
Check if any grants are available from Gateshead Council to double glaze upstairs function room
Work with Enterprise Inns to challenge Council on Noise Abatement noticeApproach a local brewery to work in partnership with if we go Free of tie
I propose that we meet again to form a working group (I hate the word committee) to take this to the next stage. I believe that this needs to be done ASAP (certainly within the next couple of weeks or so)
Could you please let me know :-
a/ If you want to attend another meeting
b/ If you want to be part of the working group (Your views will be welcome at the meeting whether you want to be involved in the working group or not)
c/ Any specific points you want to discuss