The Kings Arms is up and running!
We have lived through turbulent times since March, and SCPL has had to deal with unexpected challenges! After the virtual Annual Members Meeting in February, the Management Committee met to elect their officers for the next year. Brian Johnson is Chair, Phil Burnett is Vice-Chair and Andy Kippax remains Treasurer. Our first task was to help our tenant Ben Walker cope with the unexpected passing of one of the Bar and Good Food directors, which led to the departure of another director, who was also our popular chef. We have now drawn up a new lease to B & GF with Ben as the sole director. SCPL have also have gained a new premises licence which now includes the new garden area.
We have to say that Ben has gone the extra mile not only to keep the King’s Arms going during difficult times, but also to expand and improve facilities. Since reopening in April, the pub is now very busy and needs extra storage and staff facilities, so we have included the upper barn in the new lease. We have also given consent to develop the attic room as a family letting room, a project that should begin soon.
Ben has worked closely with the SCPL management committee to develop the rear garden, a popular area that has almost doubled outdoor seating space. He has also redecorated the King’s Room, making it a much lighter and more welcoming dining and function room. These are significant improvements to the pub that make it more able to cope with whatever COVID and the economy can throw at it!
We are especially pleased to see that the pub now employs many locals in the kitchen and front of house. This fulfils one of the key aims of SCPL – to have a pub that gives employment to local people, especially youngsters in their first job. Matt the new chef lives in the village and together with his partner Harriet, who also works in the pub, are a great team to have aboard. It is fair to say that through the efforts of the whole pub team, the King’s Arms is once again the social heart of the village!
Our 2019 restoration work is holding up very well, with utilities all working safely. The refurbished letting rooms are proving to be popular with 90% occupancy over the summer. With the pub thriving financially, SCPL have been able to keep to our business plan despite giving our tenant a rent discount to help him through the worst of the lockdowns. We are now on track to be able to pay back some of the loans that we took out to complete the restoration works. Altogether we are running a healthy budget given the difficult circumstances since the beginning of the pandemic.
We expect to be able to hold the 2022 Annual Members Meeting early in February as a live event in the village hall. We hope as many shareholders as possible will come along to hear the latest news from SCPL and to get an update on what the Society has been doing over the past year.