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Saving the Wellington

Radio Interviews 14th April 2016

Edited down a bit from the Radio Sheffield breakfast show and phone in. Its a 11mb file so please don't over do it with my bandwidth

Wellington-pub-saved-radio-sheffield 0

 

Update 6th April 2016

Letter received from New River Retail telling us the pub will stop as a pub.

Pub saved letter from New River Retail

 

Back in 2015 Letter to Co-op re pub closure

Yes I know the letter has the date as 2014

After Co-op telling us "It's all down to New River" and then New River saying they have an agreement with Co-op for the specific site (aka. the Wellington), we have a new letter for the Co-op:

View the Co-op, Richard Pennycook Letter 18/05/2015 PDF

first bit of second letter to co-op

Or here is the text:-

RE: CO-OP AGREEMENT TO CLOSE  THE WELLINGTON HOTEL, NEW WHITTINGTON, CHESTERFIELD, DERBYSHIRE.

Dear Mr. Pennycook,


Further to our previous correspondence regarding the Co-op being party to an agreement to close the Wellington Hotel. The Wellington is now listed as an Asset of Community Value in recognition of the beneficial role it plays at the heart of our community.


This status and value is supported by an 1800 signature petition, a unanimous motion passed by Chesterfield Borough Council, the granting of an Article 4 Direction by the planning authority, local press and radio coverage, mentions in a parliamentary debate, the on-going activities of our group and the continued support of the local community, groups and businesses. (Please see enclosed supporting documents)


Your previous letter indicated that New River Retail had sole responsibility for the decision and the Wellington Hotel was not specifically targeted by the Co-op. We are now in receipt of a letter from David Lockhart of New River Retail stating that you have an agreement with New River to provide a store at the specific site.


This information puts the responsibility for the closure of the Wellington directly with the Co-op, without the Co-op’s specific agreement to take the site, New River would be free to consider other options including, sale or leasing to ensure the existing value to the community is maintained.


Your previous correspondence and actions of the Co-op are in direct contravention of the Co-op Group Values and Principles:-


“Self-help  –  we help people to help themselves”  -  So far the Co-op has been obstructive.


“Self-responsibility  –  we take responsibility for, and answer to our actions” - The Co-op has tried to pass responsibility for its actions to a third party and has been deliberately misleading.


“Equity –  we carry out our business in a way that is fair and unbiased” -  The Co-op is clearly biased in the favour of a commercial partner to the detriment of our community.


“Solidarity  –  we share interests and common purposes with our members and other co-operatives.”  - The Co-op is demonstrating the polar opposite of interest and purpose to the Friends of the Wellington co-operative group.


“Openness  –  nobody’s perfect, and we won’t hide it when we’re not “- We agree the Co-op has made disastrous and imperfect decision to destroy our community hub but has hidden behind New River to avoid responsibility.


“Honesty  –  we are honest about what we do and the way we do it” – No you have been dis-honest in fact and by implication in not adhering to the groups values and principles. We were also led to believe the research carried out by Lesley Reznicek would be considered. Obfuscation is dishonest.

“Social responsibility  –  we encourage people to take responsibility for their own community, and work together to improve it.” – You have sought to discourage our responsibility and our work to maintain and improve our community by trying to persuade us that “the normal planning procedures will allow the communities concerned a fair and full opportunity to express their views to the relevant local authority”. You must have known A4 to A1 use does not give any opportunity for objections.


“Caring for others  –  we regularly fund charities and local community groups from the profits of our businesses.”  The Co-op has demonstrated it cares nothing for the wellbeing of individuals, elderly, disabled, widowed, young and old who rely on this community hub and the social cohesion that it facilitates.


“Autonomy and independence  –  co-operatives are always independent, even when they enter into agreements with the Government and other organisations” - Clearly the Co-op has entered an agreement with another organisation ,namely New River, to deliberately subvert the Co-op’s autonomy and independence.


“Co-operation amongst co-operatives  –  co-operatives work together with other co-operatives to strengthen the co-operative movement as a whole” - Ref. Solidarity above, unless you perversely count your non-co-operation as a tactic to strengthen the resolve of the Friends of the Wellington co-operative group.


“Concern for community  –  co-operatives also work to improve and develop the community, both locally and internationally.” – Lack of the Co-op’s concern for our community is so blatantly obvious that only a complete reversal of the agreement with New River can hope to clean up the besmirch image of the Co-op name in this community.  

 

In your previous response you chose to completely ignore our reference to the Co-Operative Group’s values and Principles.


Is this because the board only considers these as advantageous although vacuous and misleading marketing tools?


Or does the board have a belief that actually adhering to these values and principles are a real and valuable distinguishing feature of the Co-operative Group?

If the latter please re-consider your decision: Instruct New River that closure and conversion of the Wellington Hotel would be against the interest of the Co-operative group. Forcing through planning against the wishes of the community and local authority would produce damaging PR . If conversion did go ahead the viability of a store would be seriously undermined by ill-will amongst the majority of the village and surrounding areas.


As a co-operative group ourselves we wish to keep (and enhance) the way the Wellington serves the community.  We have indicated to New River that we may be in a position to bid if the business were to be put up for sale. As a fellow co-operative group it would be fantastic if we could work together to achieve a common goal.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

on Behalf of “Friends of the Wellington”

 

 

Previous on Saving Well

The first letter we had from the Co-op:-

First letter from co-op pub killers

co-op complicit in killing pubsWe've applied for Asset of Community value but that wont stop permitted development in time.

 

More on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saveourwelly

Twitter: @saveourwelly

Download the Asset of Community Value PDF

Or if that doesn't work, here it is ,below, in good old text format:

Community Right to Bid
Registration of Assets of Community Value Nomination Form

Please note that all sections of this form must be completed. If you need assistance completing this form, please refer to the FAQs document which can be downloaded from the website www.chesterfield.gov.uk

 

SECTION 1: ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY ORGANISATION

Name of Community Group: Friends of The Wellington

Name of key contact person: Address of the key contact: *contact name removed for publication*


Telephone Number: 07479 4907**

E­mail address: saveourwelly**@gmail.com


Is the Group:

a) An un­incorporated body Yes

If your group is an un­incorporated body please attach a list of the names and addresses of 21 members registered as local electors in Chesterfield Borough or a neighbouring authority.
Or if not an un­incorporated body please provide written evidence of your status e.g. Group Constitution or charity number.

SECTION 2: ABOUT YOUR LOCAL CONNECTION

Please describe the nature of your local connection to the asset you are nominating:

"Friends of the Wellington" membership is made up of users of The Wellington Hotel. Most members live within a one mile radius some members travel from further afield (surrounding villages, Chesterfield and beyond) because it is fully accessible for all to enjoy the comfortable atmosphere, good beer and food, live entertainment, quizzes and to meet regularly with friends or family from the community.

The group was formed in November 2014 after news of the impending closure had circulated via the "real" social networks centred around the Pub. The initial public meeting was attended by around 250 people, including outraged New Whittington residents, concerned customers, our supporting MP (Natascha Engle) and Local Councillors.

Membership of the group also contains owners or representatives of the local shops, businesses, primary school, parish church, sports clubs, societies and pensioner groups.

Our membership includes a broad representation of our diverse community: From the youthful to the very elderly, widows and widowers, disabled, young and established families, retired couples, single parents, carers and cared-for, with a variety of cultural, ethnic, social backgrounds, orientations and outlooks.

All members have a strong connection to this threatened asset and a passionate belief that loss of Wellington Hotel will have a negative impact on their lives and on the community that supports them.

 

SECTION 3: ABOUT THE ASSET YOU ARE NOMINATING

Title of the asset: The Wellington Hotel
Address of the asset: 162 High Street, New Whittington, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S43 2AN
Name of owner of the asset: New River Retail (UK) Ltd
Address of asset owner: 37 Maddox Street, London, W1S 2PP
Telephone number of occupier: (Marston's) 01902 711811


Please give a description of the nominated asset and its proposed boundaries and attach a copy of a map high­lighting the area covered by the asset you are nominating.

The building was built and listed as a "beer house" Circa 1860 to serve the growing community of workers employed at the West Staveley Colliery and associated industries. The village of New Whittington grew around the Wellington Hotel.

The building and land shown on the map attached within the boundary shown in orange, includes;
• Vestibule giving access to toilets & bars
• Public bars, "tap room" with pool table, darts and sports TV & "best side"
• Kitchen and food preparation area
• Restaurant / dining area converts to venue & evening seating area.
• Double sided bar area with with access to landlord accommodation and cellar
• Cellar divided for conditioning/storing beers and food/beverage storage
• Upstairs Landlord's accommodation
• Covered outside smoking area
• Large Enclosed beer garden to the rear with seating, play equipment and paved area with disabled / pushchair access.
• Customer carpark with entrances & exits to High Street and Wellington Street (allowing common historical use as for foot access).
• Wide frontage adjoining pavement with unrestricted public access

SECTION 4: REASON FOR NOMINATION

Please explain why your community group believes that the above named asset is an asset of community value and should be included on the register of assets of community value for Chesterfield Borough.
Please Note: Any information entered into this section may be copied and passed onto the owner of the property you are nominating.
In your reply you should address the following questions:

1. Explain how the main use of the asset currently contributes to community value (see attached definition).
2. Has the main use of the asset in the recent past contributed to
community value? Please explain how.
3. Explain how this asset could provide a realistic future contribution (in the next five years) to community value?

Please give details of how many people or what proportion of the community, and which particular sections of the community currently use the asset for its main use, or, if applicable, did so in the past.

Past and present, The Wellington has boosted the social well-being and interests of the community in ways which increases the social cohesion of the diverse demographic in New Whittington. As all sectors of the community mix and meet at the Wellington, ties are built and support networks develop that help minimise the many problems faced by both the young and old in our community.
The Institute of Public Policy Research estimates a wider social value of up to £120,000 pa is generated by community pubs such as the Wellington. With a reduction of social isolation, antisocial behavior, demand on social services & NHS, and an increase in local commerce generated by strong social networks, the Wellington contributes to the upper end of the IPPR estimates.
The Wellington also contributes directly to the local economy via direct employment and sourcing of products and services from the village and Chesterfield area. The majority of produce for the kitchen is sourced from local butchers, bakers and grocers. Staff are employed from the local community and given the opportunity to develop valuable skills to contribute within the business or to progress to other employment.
The boosting of social well-being and interests of the community has been recognised by Marston’s Plc when the Wellington was awarded runner up in their “Community pub of the Year Awards” (transcript of Press Release attached). Since this accolade, the Wellington has continued to deliver benefits to the community which are held in high regard, including; Delivering meals to the housebound, Providing quality great value meals to pensioners, Hosting a variety of events that brings the community together, Providing a meeting space for sporting clubs and local societies, pensioner groups and the local school fund raising group.
The “Friends of the Wellington” independent estimate, highlights that the Wellington is a viable and valuable asset to the community. Our calculations indicate an average weekly turnover circa £6000 (£312,000pa), a sum that covers all “localised” operating costs and an attractive return on a “free market” valuation of the property.
The analysis supports the contention that under a “Pub Co.” tie or managed scheme the accounts can show a loss due to “group apportioned”, indirect or unnecessary costs, hence presenting an inaccurate representation of the individual Pubs viability. A “free market” valuation or “fair rent” assessment, free of tie (not forced to buy beer at inflated prices) would increase the viability well in to the future (5yrs +) and secure further value to the community. Trade is currently limited by the ties which restricts the licencees' ability to cater for known local demand (e.g. Re-submission to “The Good Beer Guide” with extended range of real ales and flexibility of pricing).
We the “Friends of the Wellington” believe the Wellington Hotel fulfils all the criteria to be listed as an Asset of Community Value.

If this asset closed there would be no accessible, free public meeting space in the area.

Evidence substantiating the above is available for the councils’ inspection (with confidentiality). 1500+ petition, supporting comments, letters, testimonials, calculations. Some of which are of personal emotional significance or commercially sensitive.

SECTION 5: ACCESSIBILITY

Please give details of how many people or what proportion of the community, and which particular sections of the community currently use the asset for its main use, or, if applicable, did so in the past.

We estimate 4000 - 6000 individual people use the asset for its main use per annum.

The majority are from the diverse population of the local area including adults and children. The non discriminatory Equality and Diversity in practice at the Wellington is such that we have no estimates available of the proportions of particular sections of the community.

If access to the asset is currently restricted in some way e.g. has no disabled access – please provide details.

All public areas of the Wellington have disabled access including including the smoking area and beer garden.

SECTION 6: DECLARATION

I can confirm that to the best of my knowledge the information contained in this nomination form is complete and accurate.


Name: Signature:
Date:


Please return your form to: Donna Reddish, Policy Manager, Chesterfield Borough Council, Town Hall, Chesterfield, S40 1LP.