The Castle

A 'warts & all' account of the transformation of a run-down pub in Bradford-On-Avon into a 'proper' Inn (food pub with rooms). Written by Alex Reilley & Pierre Woodford

Sunday, January 07, 2007


The bank finally get back to us about exactly how much they are willing to lend. It's reasonabally good news & with agents breathing down our neck we enter into the final stretch. We're going to buy the leasehold first & at the same time exchange on the freehold with a completion a week later. However as each days passes a new snag seems to appear.

Snag 1

The bank have lost our account opening form, therefore we are required to fill out a new one. No problem you'd think. Well the form is fine but each shareholder has to ID themselves at their local branch. This is going to take time & we can't register for VAT (which we need to complete the deal) without our bank details. We hurriedly get everyone to the bank in order to get our account open.

Snag 2

Our business manager needs to get personal guarantees signed by all of the directors in order to release the funds. This doesn't sound complicated until he explains that he needs to see the directors in person to do this as it's a policy of the bank. With Pierre in London & Lee near Blackpool this poses an interesting problem.

Snag 3

Peter's property deal has slowed up & he won't have the money in time. Loungers can just about bridge it but with a big VAT return to pay we sail mighty close to the wind.

Snag 4 (major snag)

Having taken some (very expense) VAT advice our solicitor informs us that we have to buy the freehold first & then buy the leasehold, not sooner than a week afterwards & that there is a bloody good reason for this. If we to do the leasehold deal first VAT would need to be added to the freehold sale. Whilst we get the VAT back in a few months it would mean us needing to find £84k! In addition we would not only get pushed into a new stamp duty threshold but, unbelievably, we would also pay stamp duty on the VAT!

I call the agent to inform him of this, it sounds as if the owner is about to burst - I know how he must feel, my head feels like it's going to explode!


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