In recent years the economic climate has led to the closure of many Public Houses across the UK. Corwen, a market town of approaching 2,500 residents (2011 census) has lost two pubs in recent years and none of the three remaining pubs, including the Owain Glyndŵr Hotel, appear to have a robust financial model. Also none of the three pubs, provide catering or accommodation services at the present time. As a result of this national decline many local communities have come together to purchase their ‘local’, in order to ensure it stays open and continues to serve their community. The ‘not for profit’ business model adopted by most of these businesses has proven to be robust, even in the face of COVID-19, with only one, of well over 100 community owned pubs in the UK, folding due to the pandemic.
The Owain Glyndŵr Hotel has been for sale for a number of years and is an ideal prospect for community purchase. In the past it has been a focal point for many social activities in Corwen and deserves to be so again. The Save the OG group came together in September 2021 and with purchase in mind undertook a postal and internet survey that received over 300 responses. The survey indicated massive support for the idea of buying the OG with over £150,000 of financial support indicated from the respondents. The other key message was the need for pub/restaurant food to be once more available in Corwen.
Moving forward, the Save the OG group amalgamated with the existing Partneriaeth Corwen Partnership (PCP) and that combined group, under the banner of the PCP, is leading the purchase bid. In July 2022, Ifor Sion, the current owner of the OG, signed an exclusivity agreement giving us 12 months to make a purchase at an agreed purchase price of £300,000. Since then the PCP has been busy putting the appropriate legal procedures into place to allow us to run this share offer. Most important in this regard has been the establishment of a Community Benefit Society, ultimately independent of the PCP, to supervise the ongoing management of the OG by its Members (Shareholders).
The name of the Community Benefit Society is ‘The Owain Glyndŵr Community Hotel Limited’ (OGCHL) and it is registered with the FCA number 8933. The OGCHL was established using ‘model rules’ supplied by the Plunkett Foundation, an organisation of which we are now members. Plunkett has supported the community purchase of over 60 public houses to date. They will continue to support the PCP and OGCHL moving forwards.
In addition to the Plunkett Foundation we have received advice from other organisations including Cadwyn Clwyd, Corwen Town Council, Gwe Cambrian Web from Aberystwyth and SafeRegen in Bootle. We thank them all for their support.