£1.9Million crowdfunding campaign launched for Grade II Hertfordshire pub restaurant

Banyers House is managed by multi-award winning Oakman Inns & Restaurants and also comprises nine modern and luxurious guest bedrooms. The new pub is now trading, having opened its doors in December 2016.
Hedderwick owns another Grade II listed premises dating back to 1611 in Olney, which is to be converted into another brand-new pub restaurant, also managed by the Oakman Inn team.

The new site, which faces onto the picturesque central market square in Olney, is expected to open its doors by the end of 2017, subject to planning permission. Downing Crowd already has a strong relationship with Oakman Inns, having previously raised £2.6m through crowdfunding for other Oakman sites, including The Akeman in Tring, Hertfordshire.

Downing Crowd Bonds are a type of investment-based crowdfunding* that allow investors to lend directly to a wide range of UK businesses via bonds that are secured against a firm’s operational assets. This security seeks to reduce investor risk by enabling Downing, as Security Trustee, to sell these assets if the borrower defaults on the bond.

Investors in this latest £1.87m raise, known as the Hedderwick Pub Bond, can potentially earn up to 6.25% p.a. interest over 12 months (364 days). The Hedderwick Pub Bond will soon be available through Downing Crowd’s new Innovative Finance ISA tax wrapper, which allows investors to earn tax-free interest.

Peter Borg-Neal, Founder and CEO of Oakman Inns and Director of Hedderwick Ltd, commented: “Both Royston and Olney really capture the Oakman ethos that a good pub should be part of a community. It’s a privilege to be able to bring a new lease of life to beautiful buildings at the heart of these market towns, creating local jobs along the way and helping with the communities’ wider sustainability efforts, highlighted by our top rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Crowdfunding investors have helped us turn this vision into a reality and we are excited to be working with Downing Crowd in this latest project.

“It’s true that there have been some headwinds for the wider pub sector. But our food-led approach, which offers people the chance to enjoy a combination of restaurant quality food in relaxed pub surroundings, has allowed Oakman to perform strongly in terms of like for like sales, giving us great confidence in the future.”

Julia Groves, Head of Crowdfunding, said: “At Downing Crowd we only invest in established UK businesses, making our Crowd Bonds a great way to see your money make an impact in your local area. Downing already has expertise investing in the UK pub sector, having provided a total of £85m funding support for 60 pub restaurants and bars across the UK over the last 15-years. Over the last five years in particular Downing has seen a huge improvement in the quality of pubs in the market and it’s the wealth of sector experience that Oakman Inns brings to the company, which really sets this particular business apart.”

“Over a million people have now invested through a crowdfunding platform in the UK but, despite its growing popularity, the different kinds of crowdfunding tend to all get labelled as ‘extremely risky’. In fact, Crowd Bonds are a simple type of securitised investment and, provided investors fully understand the relevant risks compared to savings accounts, they can potentially offer attractive returns in the current climate of low interest rates and rising inflation.”