Why should I buy community shares?
AHCHL needs your investment to help purchase the Golden Lion. Sufficient investment is required from the community to enable the Golden Lion to be re-established as a sustainable business.

Who will benefit from this project?
The residents and friends of Ashton Hayes and surrounding areas will benefit directly from having this vital amenity, which will provide a range of facilities to support the village’s ambitions. The Golden Lion will play a part in making Ashton Hayes a stronger, more vibrant and cohesive community in which to live. In addition, it is expected that the presence of village pub will enhance local property values.

Is this a good business proposition?
We expect, and will require, the business to be a profitable venture. We have carefully evaluated its strengths and weaknesses and our projections show that we can establish it as a successful business. It is well proven that communities that work together to set up such an enterprise will support it in the future. There are currently 180 Community owned pubs, none have failed to date.

Will I receive interest from my shares?
The business plan forecasts that the business will be profitable on pub sales of £250,000 though we anticipate sales to be significantly better than that. Any interest paid on shares would be agreed by a vote of shareholders/members. The business plan has a forecasted interest rate of 3% per year included. The CBS would envisage that interest would be paid (subject to trading conditions) from year three onwards. No withdrawals are forecast in the first five years and as such, reserves are predicted to facilitate the payment of interest from year three onwards. Interest will be paid gross and it is each member’s responsibility to declare such earnings to HMRC if appropriate.

Will you be paying a fair price for the Golden Lion?
We have had two initial valuations of the building the latest from an independent consultant, supported by our bursary from the Plunkett Foundation. Subsequently a price has been agreed with the owner for the sale of the Golden Lion. We have always maintained that there is an element of community value in us acquiring control of the Golden Lion on behalf of our community. With this in mind the committee has full confidence in the business plan and the impact the purchase costs have on it.

Who are the people behind this project? Do they have a personal interest?
The Management Committee consists of a group of local residents who care passionately about the Golden Lion, the social role of pubs and the future heritage of the area. They have voluntarily donated their time and efforts over the last 12 years to develop the Business Plan and the way forward and have registered the company. They will be investing in shares. They will have no personal financial interest in the project, above and beyond their own investment in community shares. Their work has been supplemented with advice and considerable support from people and organisations such as the Plunkett Foundation and Cheshire West and Chester Council. Click here for more information about the people involved.

Who will run the Golden Lion and make the day-to-day decisions about the business?
There will be a new Management Committee following the purchase and refurbishment of the Golden Lion who will oversee the performance of the business and seek to ensure that it meets the goals set down in the vision statement. The plan is to appoint an experienced tenant to run the day-to-day pub under a tenancy agreement with AHCHL. This is the strong view of the community, as it brings in essential experience and minimizes the draw on community time. There will be effective governance and reporting arrangements in place to monitor financial and other performance. A formal ‘open book’ agreement will be sought to share feedback and other information between the Society and the tenant. Shareholders will be invited to annual meetings to discuss performance and significant decisions about the future of the Golden Lion.

Do my shares give me voting rights?
Yes, they do. Everyone has an equal voice, regardless of the size of their investment.

How do I get my money back?
You will be able to apply to withdraw your shares after the first three years. You will need to give at least three months’ notice. You cannot sell or transfer your shares, and withdrawals must be funded from surpluses or new capital raised from members. The Committee may suspend withdrawals depending on the long-term interests of the Society, the need to maintain adequate reserves, and the commitment to the community we serve. Currently we do not forecast any shares being withdrawn within the first five years.

What happens if the purchase of the Golden Lion falls through?
It is possible that we will be unable to complete the purchase, even after we have secured the funds. In the unlikely event that this happens we would return any funds we have received, after deducting any remaining losses. Losses would be kept to a minimum and in the worst case, you might lose 5p in the £1 of the initial costs.

Will I get my investment back if the Golden Lion fails?
All the assets, including the freehold of the building, would be sold and the sale proceeds (after paying any creditors) divided between the shareholders up to the value of their shares. This share offer is unregulated, as it is exempt from the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 or subsidiary regulations, which means there is no right of complaint to the Financial Ombudsman, nor can you apply to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

What happens if we don’t meet the minimum share offer target
The purchase could still go ahead but we wouldn’t have the funds to carry out the refurbishment.

I pledged to buy shares in the 2018 Share Offer, do I have to apply again?
Yes, all cheques received for the 2018 Share Offer were destroyed after six months and no money was banked. The Offer was then closed. If you wish to invest you should complete a new application form and send your payment via BACS or cheque.