Deadline on village shop sale looms

The Oxford Times: KEEPING IT LOCAL: Alison Morris, Steve Lunn and Phillip Dove from Wolvercote Community Benefit Society outside The Post Box KEEPING IT LOCAL: Alison Morris, Steve Lunn and Phillip Dove from Wolvercote Community Benefit Society outside The Post Box

TIME is running out for a community’s plan to buy their village shop under new ‘right to buy’ laws.

Wolvercote villagers have until January 23 to make an offer on The Post Box, Godstow Road, before special protected status ends.

Owner Colin Crozier put the freehold on the market at £400,000 but cannot sell it straight away under new laws.

A group of villagers used the Localism Act 2011 to give them six months to find cash to make an offer.

No other offers could be accepted by Mr Crozier until the six months is up on January 23.

But he said the villagers, who have argued that the property is worth less than Mr Crozier’s asking price, had yet to come up with a satisfactory offer.

Neither party would say how much residents have put forward, but it was previously said the figure had reached £237,900 in August, pledged by 174 people.

Their money would be returned from the net income the shop makes.

Mr Crozier said: “I don’t have any objection to selling the shop to them in principle. I have not heard anything from them in months.

“I don’t mind that the sale has been put on hold. It makes no odds to me.

“I have got my idea of what the shop is worth and my opinion is that it is worth more than they say it is,” he added. “If it isn’t, then I am not going to sell it.”

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Steve Lunn, a member of the villagers’ steering committee, said the shop was not worth £400,000.

He said: “As a community benefit society we cannot pay more than we believe it to be worth.

“We have to know we are getting a reasonable deal because if things go wrong we can sell it and repay people.

“We will be doing all we can to get our offer up as high as we can and I wouldn’t say we have finished. We are working on whether we can increase our offer.”

He said: “Anyone who wants to buy it and gets advice from a professional valuer will be told what we have been told.

“We can wait until the owner realises they won’t get a better offer.

“I am still optimistic in the long term that we will manage to buy this shop.”

Mr Lunn said the group was not ready to share how much the shop had been valued at independently.

To use the act, villagers had to form a community benefit society and apply for ‘preferred bidder’ status to Oxford City Council.

The council asked villagers to put down how much they would pledge in order to buy the freehold.

For the right to buy laws to come into effect, a property must be first designated an ‘asset of community value’.

The Kassam Stadium was the first facility in Oxford to be given this status, although owner Firoz Kassam has not put it up for sale.

Another community group in East Oxford has triggered a six-month moratorium on the sale of the Gladiator Club in Iffley Road.

Christian charity and social club owners the Gladiator Trust wants to sell the site for development and has put it on the market for £1.25m.

Comments (4)

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11:04am Fri 3 Jan 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

The scheme doesn't really work does it?

For all the bluster of the community groups, all that seems to happen is that it delays a genuine business transaction.

Indeed, unless they are cash buyers, it can actually increases the cost of borrowing for a purchaser by 200-300 basis points as there is a significant risk for the lending bank that they will be unable to realise their security promptly in an administration.
The scheme doesn't really work does it? For all the bluster of the community groups, all that seems to happen is that it delays a genuine business transaction. Indeed, unless they are cash buyers, it can actually increases the cost of borrowing for a purchaser by 200-300 basis points as there is a significant risk for the lending bank that they will be unable to realise their security promptly in an administration. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -18

3:14pm Fri 3 Jan 14

oxfordgirl1974 says...

Just who do these villagers think they are? If Mr Crozier wants to ask £400,000 for his shop, that's his choice. Otherwise, a house buyer would be able to say that they don't think a house is worth the asking price and try to get it cheaper.
I'd be furious if I were him!
Just who do these villagers think they are? If Mr Crozier wants to ask £400,000 for his shop, that's his choice. Otherwise, a house buyer would be able to say that they don't think a house is worth the asking price and try to get it cheaper. I'd be furious if I were him! oxfordgirl1974
  • Score: -97

3:40pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Arnold.Brewer says...

oxfordgirl1974 wrote:
Just who do these villagers think they are? If Mr Crozier wants to ask £400,000 for his shop, that's his choice. Otherwise, a house buyer would be able to say that they don't think a house is worth the asking price and try to get it cheaper.
I'd be furious if I were him!
I guess they have been given professional advice and on that basis they feel it is not worth £400K. Indeed Mr Crozier can put any price he likes on it - but the real point is whether anyone is willing to pay it - we shall soon see.
[quote][p][bold]oxfordgirl1974[/bold] wrote: Just who do these villagers think they are? If Mr Crozier wants to ask £400,000 for his shop, that's his choice. Otherwise, a house buyer would be able to say that they don't think a house is worth the asking price and try to get it cheaper. I'd be furious if I were him![/p][/quote]I guess they have been given professional advice and on that basis they feel it is not worth £400K. Indeed Mr Crozier can put any price he likes on it - but the real point is whether anyone is willing to pay it - we shall soon see. Arnold.Brewer
  • Score: -92

3:46pm Fri 3 Jan 14

King Joke says...

THe Bull pub in Gt Milton was bought by the villagers and seems to be doing OK.
THe Bull pub in Gt Milton was bought by the villagers and seems to be doing OK. King Joke
  • Score: 7

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