Correspondence between David Fielder and HJCP regarding a possible meeting to negotiatie the Pub sale.


Following the agreement made at the Public meeting on the 17th June 2019 to meet and discuss the purchase of the Henry Jenkins with the Owner, a letter was received from the owner, David Fielder outlining his preconditions for the proposed meeting.

These conditions were totally unacceptable to the committee on behalf of members, particularly the minimum price of £250 000 when considering the independent valuation of £100 000 obtained in April in order to make the bid following the ACV moratorium.

We believe it is important to publish both the letter from David Fielder and our reply letter as penned by David Robinson t clarify why the meeting would have been unacceptable for members of the HJCP.

Email from David Fielder – (Some irrelevant comments have been taken out)

From :
Date : 24/06/2019 – 11:38 (GMTST)
Subject : Re: Meeting

Dear Mr Robinson,

I acknowledge receipt of your email of 21/6/19 at 9.45 pm regarding meeting.

Please accept my apologies for not replying sooner but my office is closed at that time and I personally have been involved with the farming business over the weekend as we are at a very busy time for that business. I am somewhat surprised at the length of time it has taken for this request to be made after the meeting last Monday and further emails on Tuesday.

However as suggested I propose meeting be held at the Jefferson Arms, Thorganby, York, YO19 6DA. This a pub owned by myself and the closest I have to middle ground capable of hosting such a meeting. Unfortunately 10th July is not convenient but 9th is.
I would suggest a start time in line with your request of between 16.30 and 18.30. Mr Claybourn is also available to attend along with experienced operators within the licenced trade and accountancy specialists. Please advise me in advance who will be attending with you, all interested parties are welcome to attend. This is required so how know how much space to reserve.

As stated I am reluctantly prepared to accept an offer of not less than £250,000 (VAT will not be applicable) for my interest in the former Henry Jenkins as that figure will just about cover my book cost of the property but certainly will not give me any profit for the over 7 years I have owned it but will hopefully end this unfortunate saga.

Obviously for me to able to justify a sale with no profit and justifiable to HMRC I must first be satisfied of the community use/benefit, actual funding been in place for the entire scheme, future viability and finally in the event of failure, disposal of the asset.

The meeting will be chaired by a person of my choice and the format will be briefly as followed and quite different to your public meeting.

I will give a brief outline of myself and my experience in business and the licenced sector and my side of the former Henry Jenkins saga. Questions will be taken and any necessary clarification dealt with.

A single representative of HJCP will then be invited to speak and give their side of the former Henry Jenkins saga and expected to answer any questions.

Anyone with a valid interest will be allowed to speak for 10 minutes initially and longer if deemed necessary by the chair to clarify their full position.

After this HJCP will be expected to make an offer for my interest in the building preferably in line with the above terms. If no offer is made at all, the meeting will be terminated then. If an offer not meeting these terms is made HJCP will be called upon to fully justify any such offer and the likelihood of it coming to fruition.

In summary, the only purpose of the meeting is to assess the HJCP latest proposals following both restricted and open meetings held by them. HJCP will be expected to provide facts to support their business plan/purported intentions and be in possession of all documents to support it. (Statements like a publican in another village says so will not be accepted as fact), they should be there personally to explain their claims and answer any relevant questions.

I look forward in anticipation to HJCP willingness to attend with all supporting evidence and people, lets try to put this saga to bed.
Please confirm preferred start time and numbers asap.


David Fielder.

Email reply from David Fielder on behalf of  HJCP – (Some irrelevant comments have been taken out)

Date: 29 June 2019 at 16:19:49 BST
To: David Fielder <>
Subject : Re: Meeting

Dear David,

We acknowledge receipt of your email of the 24th June, outlining your proposals and preconditions for the meeting we agreed to hold concerning the Henry Jenkins Inn, Kirkby Malzeard.

Unfortunately, I fear you have completely misunderstood the basis of what the HJCP Ltd, the attending public, and yourself agreed to at our public meeting on the 17th June, which was “to sit round a table to negotiate an agreed price for the sale of the Henry Jenkins Inn.”

You have announced that it is for sale and the HJCP Ltd, as they have maintained from the outset of this whole prolonged business, wish to buy it.

An examination of our future trading proposals, business plans, share offers, and whatever else you feel you would like to be ‘examined by a panel of experienced operators
and accountancy specialists’ paid for by yourself, at a meeting ‘chaired by a person of your choosing’, is not the type of purchasing negotiation that we would ever properly consider or agree to.

We have held 2 meetings at our village hall. Only residents of the parish could attend the first, but you were able to attend the following public meeting. At both events, all of our proposals were discussed openly and thoroughly. At that point, you were able to openly ask, and answer, any question put up by the panel and members of the public. It is not our intention now to reopen this debate for a small private group when all the issues have already been fully explored and discussed in a wider public forum.

The scope and detail of our future business arrangements do not fall within your remit, nor is it proper that they should do so. Essentially, we should both agree that ‘our business is our business’ and ‘your business is your business’.

It is our view that discussions will be limited strictly to the sale, from your side, and the purchase, from our side, of the Henry Jenkins pub and site.

Furthermore, as Mr Claybourn surprisingly announced at the meeting on the 17th June that his ‘eastern annexe’ was also up for sale, we would anticipate that his part of the property would be included in these discussions.

We do understand, of course, that you need to be satisfied that you are dealing with a bone fide purchaser. We feel that you should be satisfied by the tacit endorsement of Harrogate Borough Council who, after due diligence, accepted that we were a properly constituted group entitled to bid for the property.

You must accept that we are a legally constituted Community Benefit Society strictly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The seal of our creation is on our website for all to see.

We have adopted the Model Rules of Plunketts, a registered charity who advise best practice for our type of business. We have issued a Business Plan and a Community Share Offer which have both been audited by CMS Co-op and granted a Standard Mark (Kite Mark) by the Community Shares Unit. These are not just claims, they are facts. And these facts are our governance which should provide you with the reassurance that you seem to be seeking, that we are acting soley on behalf and for the benefit of, our local community.

Please be assured that when we come to an agreed purchase price with yourself and Mr Claybourn, you will then, of course, be provided with evidence that we have recognisable and immediately accessible resources to fund the purchase – but certainly not till then.

Let us proceed with these negotiations with open minds and in a friendly manner, in an informal way, as we clearly both want the same end result – you, to sell, and we, to buy.

Notwithstanding this, we need you to understand in advance that we do not feel, at this present time, that we are buying a working pub, or indeed a business, from you. Any such trappings that might have identified the site as such, were stripped out by yourself long ago and burned in a heap in the car park. There are no recent trading accounts or ‘goodwill’ as the pub has been

closed for so long and, as has been mentioned, no fixtures and fittings, electrics & plumbing or fully-functional kitchen, which any normal business would need to operate.

What we are bidding for is a semi-derelict shell of a building, part of which is subject to an ACV. Recent decisions that residential planning applications will not be granted due to HBCs CFX policies and the NPPF, limit the use of the building to community use only and a considerable financial input will be required just to return the site to that use.

The state of the property, as it stands today, itself suggests a value that we will suggest to you prior to, or on the day of, our meeting. There is no doubt in our minds that the value of the building now has been greatly reduced by the stripping out the entire interior.

Also, we cannot concur that any monies you have spent in legal costs over the years should be added to the value of the property itself, as you insinuated at the meeting. You chose to pay these rather than investing in the property itself. In fact, the reverse case is true – if that money had been spent in refurbishing the building, the value of the property you hold would have been greatly enhanced!

Nevertheless, it is the view of the HJCP Ltd that both parties should meet with mutual respect for each other’s position and with an open mind to a fair and frank negotiation. This is a situation that has dragged on for far too long and the residents of Kirkby Malzeard deserve more than viewing the day-by-day, year-by-year slow deterioration of their much-loved landmark located right in the centre of their lovely village.

We remain happy with the venue chosen by you but would like to remind you that, as was clearly stated at the meeting on the 17th June the earliest possible date the HJCP Ltd could attend was the 10th July.

This has not changed, so a meeting on the 9th July is not possible – please suggest another date and we will endeavour to accommodate you.

I look forward to your reply, suggesting a new date and time.

Best regards

David Robinson
01765 658123
07860 396170