The Brook Inn in Copdock & Washbrook is a community-owned free house bought – predominantly – by local shareholders in August 2014. It enjoys a fantastic reputation for food and hospitality with a specialism for home-cooked, gluten free dishes.
The Brook was put up for sale in the spring of 2013 throwing the future of the pub in doubt. Despite pub firm Punch Taverns appointing a temporary manager, villagers feared the Brook Inn might close leaving Copdock & Washbrook without a local. The estate agents appointed to sell the pub did have inquiries but no firm offers so it was decided at a public meeting in April 2013 that a committee be set up to explore the possibility of a community-led buy-out of the Brook inn.
The original committee comprising parish council chairman Keith Armes, Alan Amphlett Lewis, George Wiseman, Ian Evans and Amanda Males held a number of meetings to investigate a purchase, the legal implications, financing and the prospects of success.
It was a complicated process but the committee was confident it could be successful with community backing. We decided the best way forward was via the formation of a limited company run by a small board of directors but owned by a cross section of shareholders.
The venture would be profit led, shareholdings and voting rights would be limited with dividends paid once the business is on a sound financial footing. A manager would be employed to run the pub with the board overseeing the running of the business.
Over the following weeks and months plans were put in place to raise £400,000 to buy the pub via a share issue with a number of public meetings held to keep villagers and investors up to date with events. That included the business plan which can still be accessed via the Home page and a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ or FAQ entry on the News page.
To be successful and buy the pub, we needed financial and general support which was forthcoming. In March 2014 we had raised enough money to put in a first bid which culminated in an agreed price of £290,000.
To cut a long story short we exchanged contracts on 26th August 2014 and re-opened under new management and landlord David Clarke on the 29th August. It’s been a long ‘journey’ but we made it – with events unfolding on the ‘news’ section of this website.
As of January 2015, all 1600 shares have been sold raising the original target of £400,000. All shareholders will now enjoy generous tax rebates of around 30% of the shares costs via the Government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme which will be processed in early 2015.
Also in January, the pub underwent a near £30,000 refit with a new kitchen and total refubishment of the bar area and toilets.
This website is now more of an historical record of the purchase. If you want up to date information on the Brook Inn you can visit our lively Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thebrookinnwashbrook?ref=aymt_homepage_panel or our pub website: http://www.thebrookinnwashbrook.co.uk/