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RayandCarole

Berney Arms

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Hopefully then the moorings will remain.   If a private house you can imagine ruddy great big signs outside saying NO MOORING PRIVATE.      That is one of the lasting memories I have of when we first hired some 35 years ago,, all these signs saying Private No Mooring.      We felt at the time it was very unwelcoming.

 

 

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If it is so hugely important why is it not viable? Maybe the BA and local community would like to cover the overheads and provide a living wage for the landlords and be repaid by the profits generated. 

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One, if not the main, problem with viability is the expectations of the freeholder. You can't apply the Punch rent model to the Berney, a little flexibility is needed. For example at one time the rent on the Berney was TWICE that of the Locks. (not the same owner obviously)

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I remember Chris Shephard a former tenant at The Berney saying that the only moorings along the Quay which are owned by the pub are the ones immediately outside . He used to pay the farmer who owns the land behind the moorings a fee

so that boats visiting the pub could moor there. The moorings immediately outside the Berney Mill I believe are owned

the owners of the Mill. There are approx. 50 yards of mooring just upstream of the 24 hour moorings and these were purchased some years ago with the land behind the moorings. Dave R...........

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I am glad that he planning app has been turned down,I hope the staff that we saw the other week,can now improve there hosting skills. As I said after our visit on a very cold and wet day with only two other people in the pub,they were more interested in talking to themselves.

Ian

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The problem is that the pub needs to be run by people with passion, professionalism and a true love of the Broads. No one is going to get rich out of it. You would need to live on the premises, casual staff are a no no  because of the access problems.

 

I’m sure that in the right hands it could do well. But I’m afraid that unless it is sold for a sensible price or leased at a sensible rate then it will only be taken up by people who do not have the necessary experience coupled with a proper understanding of the business. People with the real skills needed will not be attracted as things stand at the moment.  It’s a very difficult situation and I sincerely hope it doesn’t end in tears.

 

This is all in my very humble opinion of course.

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It would be good to see The Berney up and running as a pub. At present their is a distinct lack of customers and in view of its location and no a road to the pub I cannot see it surviving in a relatively short period from April to the end of October.

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And that is it in a nutshell Dave. Even with No rent or commercial mortgage can a buiness survive and pay a living wage to a couple on 3 months bouyant (June, July, August) 4 months slack (April, May, Sept, October) and 5 months with b#gg!r all ( November, December, January, February, March). Norfolk can be a very bleak place even in April.

I have seen this change of use come up in a number of villages, both in the nine years that I have lived in Norfolk and in Buckinghamshire where I lived all my life. For some reason known only unto God the loudest opponents are those who only have a pint about twice a month before their sunday lunch. 

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Is £15000 pa an unreasonable rent?. If the property has a value of £230k capitalisation would be in the region of 15 years. Does not sound unreasonable to me. The problem is No Customers. I agree the moorings are very important but that is a red herring they have nothing to do with the building use and The BA could always put in pontoons if it is a safety issue.

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Did not know that their value was so low. I suppose it's value as an unviable business, not able to change usage and with no access to attract custom and effect easily the repairs required is actually about zero.

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Afraid I must concur with Dave on this one. There is no way that the pub is worth that amount. The report that Peter kindly provided the link for says in several places that the expectations of the freeholder are unrealistic. In addition the premises are in poor state.

 

The whole situation is very similar to Punch on a small scale. I don't know what the freeholder paid for the pub in the first place. But I suspect he is desperately trying to make money from an over valued asset., it may well be he will have to take a hit on it. He's a property speculator, that's a risk you take. 15k might be a fair rent for a town pub with all year trade. A pub near me in Bridlington is being advertised by Punch for 7.9k rent. It's a big pub near the front, know it well. Only recently the rent on the Locks was 9k. 

 

The Berney could work with people like John and Tracy running it who have good understanding of running a pub and good knowledge of the Broads too. But it's got to be sold at a sensible price or leased at a reasonable rate. I think sadly we have probably reached a state of impasse. The next move is down to the freeholder. I await with some trepidation. 

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The current tenant wants to stay and wants to try and open all year round. I for one will visit whenever I can to support her. Will she get any support from Ray is the real issue. There are people who would love to run The Berney and are realistic enough to realise they are not going to make their fortune. The freeholder just needs to get into the real world and it could just happen.

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ALL of the Stakeholders should now sit down and consider ways forward. Railway, nature reserve, brewers, freeholder, BA, NSBA et al. The Geldeston Locks is flourishing, showing that unique, off the beaten tracks can make it.

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Keith, perfectly summarised I think. I hope others will follow your example and support the pub. 

 

Peter, good idea. And you ae right about the Locks. Colin is an excellent experienced landlord who understands the unique nature of running a Broadland pub with the huge variations in trade. I suspect he is also paying a realistic rent too!

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I suspect he is also paying a realistic rent too!

I suspect Howard if he wasn't he would have flown the nest a while ago !

IMHO, common sense in large amounts, by all concerned, is required to move the pub forward. Will it happen? Only time will tell, but I do hope so!

I had many a guid night there when Bob McLaughlan was landlord. With his scary spider!:naughty:

cheersIain

 

 

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The Berney arms was a success up until the time when Chris Sheppherd passed away. During his time at the pub the moorings were busy and it was normal to see boats double moored on the moorings and the pub was heaving with customers which supplied good beer and meals at a reasonable cost.Since Chris passed away several years ago now the pub has gradually diminished in popularity with a succession of tenants and today its hardly used at all and the moorings which once were full are now empty.It seems that boat numbers on the broads are less now then they were a few years ago. Its usual now on a Saturday evening to see less than four  private boats moored and no hire craft. Due to its locations some distance away from the hire yards the pub is not going to see hire boats until the Sunday evening and then on the Friday they will not be there because they are on their way back to the hire yards.If the pub does remain open in the winter months then who is

going to use it? The pub relies solely on boat traffic and boats using the broads in the winter months are few and far between and there is no public road to the pub.Most people boats lay their boats up in November and then start to use them again in April.

 

 

 

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Dave, Some big assumptions if I may say, and some inaccuracies that only help the Ray Horrocks corner. John and Tracy run the pub for several years after Chris passed away and it was busy at times then. They were actually chosen by Chris during his illness to take it on after him. Ray's rent increases see them eventually give up. Hire yards have evolved due to the difficulty of finding Saturday boys and girls to help turn around the boats and now more often use full time cleaners who are kept busy throughout the week by staggered starts, Mon-Fri breaks, Tuesday or Friday starts so it is not at all unusual to see hire boats South over the weekend now. The Wherryman's way attracts many walkers to the area who are often more hardy than boaters and will dress appropriately and enjoy a Mid Winters walk. Bird watchers again will come to see the different nesting or migratory birds. You only need to look upriver at how Sonia has embraced the walkers near Surlingham to see what could be done at The Berney. There are also a growing number of people like me who do not put their boat to bed in the Winter. John installed a couple of shore power sockets to encourage boats later in the season. I spent a couple of early November weekends at The Berney when John and Tracy were there. Positivity and less doom and gloom is what The Berney needs.

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