A Grade II-listed London pub was the first in the country to be rescued from property development due to a unique partnership between the local community – using the Localism Act, a new piece of legislation – the Social Investment Business (SIB), and the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF).
The Ivy House in the London Borough of Southwark was closed in the spring of 2012 and subsequently sold to a private investor for redevelopment. Tessa Blunden, a local solicitor, who actually held her wedding party in the pub several years ago, was one of many determined to save it from being turned into an apartment block.
Tessa and her steering team colleagues galvanised community and local authority support by way of the Localism Act. In October 2012, Southwark Council acknowledged there was significant support to save the pub and formally listed the building as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ under the legislation. Preventing the re-development was only half the battle. The community needed to raise the £810,000 asking price for the pub, which is where the AHF stepped in to lend £550,000 towards both acquisition and for working capital purposes, working closely with the SIB who provided an acquisition grant.
Following completion of the purchase on 15 March 2013, Ivy House Community Pub Limited launched a community share issue to enable people and businesses to invest directly in the pub to secure its long term future as London’s first co-operative pub and community hub. Over £140,000 was raised in this way, and the business successfully opened to the public in August 2013.