Blue Bell Community Hub Project - Cocking, West Sussex

The heart of a Community at the heart of the South Downs National Park

View the future Blue Bell Community Hub
View the future Blue Bell Community Hub

View the future Blue Bell Community Hub

View the future Blue Bell Community Hub

Following the successful viewing last Friday, we've decided to have another! We had some great feedback plus some valuable and interesting ideas from those who came. It's also your opportunity to fill out your share option details and be a part of the exciting future for the hub. We need names beforehand so click on the ``going`` button and add any names of family or friends who you know would like to have a look around too. There will be members of the committee available to answer any questions you may have. Hope to see you there!

The Blue Bell - Cocking, West Sussex

The Blue Bell lies in the centre of Cocking, West Sussex, a village in the heart of the beautiful South Downs National Park on the A286 3 miles south of Midhurst and heading towards Chichester and Goodwood, West Sussex.

The Blue Bell has been our local pub in the past, attracting custom from Cocking, surrounding villages and more widely from passing trade, with a deserved reputation for well-priced good food. The pub has now been closed since October 2017 and is owned by local developers Wand Estates. The village now lacks an effective community hub, accessible to all ages throughout the day and every day of the week. The well-located Blue Bell with on-site parking availability should answer this need, and, critically, help to ensure that Cocking remains a thriving and vibrant community with a sense of place in the years to come.

Following an unsuccessful planning application to convert the Blue Bell into two houses, a community group concerned that the heart of our village would be lost for ever was formed and they have negotiated the purchase of the Blue Bell. Agreement has been reached for the purchase, including an overhaul of the building to bring it up to a basically sound standard, allowing alterations and upgrading of the interior to take place to make it suitable for operation as a community hub.

Our vision is

To develop a sustainable community business, that is inclusive and with a reputation for good customer service, that contributes to a vibrant and thriving village.

Latest News
Downloadable Documents
Proposal for a Community Hub - Business Plan

Proposal for a Community Hub

Business Plan

This business plan presents a proposal from the Blue Bell Community Hub Ltd (BBCHL) for the purchase and lease to a tenant of the Blue Bell Pub in Cocking as a community‐owned facility. BBCHL is a legally established Community Benefit Society that has been specifically formed to purchase the Blue Bell, develop it as a hub including the Post Office and shop, and to secure its future for the benefit of the community.

Market Appraisal Valuation

Independent Business Valuation

Independent Business Valuation

The Blue Bell Inn is a brick built Public House located in Cocking, West Sussex a village about 3 miles or so to the south of Midhurst and 10 miles to the north of Chichester. We are advised that the village has a population of about 450. Cocking is made up of privately-owned residential property together with an eleventh century church, village shop with post office, tea room, and Village Hall on the outskirts of the village.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Download the Frequently Asked Questions that was available on Friday 18th January 2019, the document contains over 50 questions. If that still doesn't answer your question then email your question to us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lets answer a few of your questions

What is a Community Benefit Society?

A Community Benefit Society is a legal entity that is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It is a not-for-profit organisation. They are springing up all over the country, helping to save and enhance local amenities for communities under threat from unwelcome development.

How can we make this happen?

Finiancial support is critical to protecting the Blue Bell pub from further development. Such help comes in from donation, shares and/or loons, on which interest will be paid. So far, some £160,000 has been pledged some 25% of our target of £650,000.

Pledged v Target

Target £650,000
Pledged £160,000

What's happened so far?

We have started the process of applying for grants from the public sector and charitable organisations, but this will take time to realise. The Big Lottery, for example, could take a year before the application is agreed and funds are allocated. We don’t have that time to wait.

We will be running a Community Share Offer Scheme early in February 2019, meaning the motivation and payback will be more socially focused than financial. Such a scheme helps to ensure a genuinely local enterprise, accountable to the community white serving and benefiting it.

Why is this important?

For most villages a pub is a vital service. It acts as a meeting place, a communication centre and an important lynchpin of village life.Similary, a convenience shop and post office can often be a vital lifeline. especially for those without transport, becoming an important connection with the worls outside the village.

Much of the appeal of our village rests on its sense of community. It is the reason many people have moved here, remain here and wish it to remain as it is. The presence of a community hub that conbines a pub, shop and post office would continue to maintain the community spirit that our village embodies. It is also the heart of the village and the heart of the South Downs National Park with its over 18 million visitors each year.

What's been achieved?

We have an agreement in place to buy the Blue Bell pub, with completion in the spring of 2019. Funds will be raised through a combination of a community shareholding offer, grants, loans and donations.

This kind of venture has been successfully achieved in other communities all over the country, Currently, there are 85 co-operative pubs and over 300 community-owned shops, most set up with the charitable support of the Plunkett Foundation (www.plunkett.co.uk) and they have a 100% success rate.

How can I help?

Out main concern is raising enough funds to secure the property. If you could help through either a donation, loan or participation in our share scheme it would be much appreciated.

Others are helping with pledging their time renovating the pub, from the initial setup of the project to managing the enterprise, and, perhaps, day-to-day involvement with the practical running of the community hub.

If you wish to speak directly to someone about this project, please email info@bluebellhub.org and we will be in touch.

Why the urgency?

We need to acquire the Blue Bell pub building and refurbish it as soon as possible. Our feeling is that the longer it is closed, the more the Blue Bell pub with deteriorate, and its reputation dwindle. Impetus will be lost, and with it, all chance of creating something special for the village and the surrounding area.

If the building is able to be purchased it will be owned by the public through a Community Benefit Society. It will not only remain a pub, restaurant and bed and breakfast, but also in time house the post office and an expanded convenience shop.

It will become the community hub of Cocking.

Click here to view the Frequently Asked Questions that was available at the Public Meeting on Friday 18th January 2019, the document contains over 50 questions.

Didn't Find the Answer?

If you didn’t find an answer to your question then either email your question to info@bluebellhub.org or complete the form below:

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All building blocks are now in place to launch the project and turn the dream into a reality.

With your help we can turn this dream into a reality