Community share offer launched by the Stokes Croft Land Trust

PRSC Building, Stokes Croft

Today, Thursday 25th November 2021, Stokes Croft Land Trust (SCLT) has launched its first-ever community share offer with a minimum target raise of £272,000 and a projected 3% return for investors.

The share offer will fund the purchase of 17 -25 Jamaica Street and 14 Hillgrove Street, known as the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC), transferring the buildings into community ownership. The move will safeguard community assets in Stokes Croft from additional private sector property development and gentrification of the area.

Working with Bristol-based investment platform, Fundsurfer, the Land Trust has set the minimum investment at £100 with residents in three Bristol postcodes, BS1 3**, BS6 5** and BS2 8**, able to back from as little as £10.

Currently owned by Angel Investors, the sale of the properties has been agreed at the 2013 purchase price to the Land Trust, although a recent valuation report states the properties are now valued at £450,000.

In developing this commercial model, the Land Trust has acted to stop the gentrification of Stokes Croft caused by property developers and corporate businesses moving in to pursue profit, threatening the very culture that makes Stokes Croft attractive. The Land Trust will take control of the land, making community ownership, as opposed to private, the norm for the area.

The anchor tenant, PRSC, will continue to use the buildings as PRSC HQ, once the purchase has been completed. The Land Trust is a Charitable Community Benefit Society – a membership-based organisation – registered with the FCA. All new investors will automatically become members with voting rights, giving equal say, alongside the other members, on what the Land Trust does next.

Speaking about the launch, Land Trust board member Keith Cowling said: “We need you. This is our first project but we are aiming to buy more. We have developed this opportunity so that you can join, reap the benefits directly and for our city. And in doing so, you are actively helping us to preserve not only buildings but our unique culture, social enjoyment, the sense of belonging and the future opportunities for creativity and progress which Stokes Croft is well known for. This is critical to our city.

“We are already witnessing the slow erosion of the Stokes Croft identity with the redevelopment of Carriageworks and this must stop. You can easily be part of that. Join us today.”

The community share offer launch coincides with the opening of a city-focused exhibition providing a spotlight on PRSC’s history, Stokes Croft battles that have been won and lost, Community Wealth Building information as well as an area to find out more about the share offer and opportunities to back on the spot.

A series of events are planned during November and December including an evening with Bristol Community Land Trust to discuss gentrification, a talk on Community Wealth Building plus a Land Justice Film Night.

Supporting the community share offer, local Co-operative & Social Enterprise Development Worker, Hilary Sudbury said: “Raising capital to buy or safeguard community assets through a community share offer is bringing the power of collective action into play. Buy shares, become a member and have your say in the organisation thereafter.

“Bristol has seen successful community share offers from Bristol Energy Co-operative (renewable energy assets), Bristol Community Ferries (the iconic blue and yellow harbour ferries) and The Exchange (music venue). Further afield, successful community shares initiatives include Komedia & The Bell Inn, both of whom successfully bought their premises in Bath, and Clevedon Pier, Clevedon Community Bookshop and Low Carbon Gordano (renewable energy) have led the way in North Somerset.”

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