We have been formally advised that Punch Taverns has now accepted an alternative offer to that made and agreed with Sidbury Community Enterprises for the Red Lion. This alternative offer we have been told is at a price that is “no lower” than that agreed with Sidbury Community Enterprises. We make this point because we understand that it has been said, erroneously, locally that the agreed price now accepted was lower than that which was agreed with Sidbury Community Enterprises. This is incorrect.
We are also advised that the only reason why Punch Taverns has now accepted this alternative offer is because Sidbury Community Enterprises was unable, at this stage, to fully fund the purchase of the Red Lion.
We are sure that you will share the disappointment of the Management Committee in this turn of events. It is however perhaps not surprising that Punch Taverns, which has been trying to sell the pub for some 14 months now, has responded to an alternative potential purchaser in this manner. It was perhaps too big an ask to expect Punch Taverns to work with us for a few more months whilst we continued to seek to raise the outstanding balance required to fulfil our business intentions. I am told that Punch Taverns has set the alternative potential purchaser a relatively short completion timescale of 4 to 6 weeks, which would mean that by, approximately the end of July we will know whether we still have the opportunity to purchase the pub.
The Management Committee intend to continue to seek the capital grant and additional investment from potential shareholders that we previously said we would pursue. We appreciate the positive responses received from many investors and Campaign supporters to our proposal to apply for this grant. It is our view that we should continue in this way in case the alternative potential purchaser fails to complete on the sale. We remain committed to Sidbury Community Enterprises’ vision for the pub as a community owned village pub.
Obviously, the Management Committee will keep the situation under review. If the pub is purchased by the alternative potential purchaser then the Management Committee accept that will bring our bid to purchase the Red Lion to a disappointing conclusion.
We will keep you updated as information about the purchase of the Red Lion as matters progress.