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Thu 4th May 2017 - Oakman launches £2.5m crowdfunding campaign on Downing Crowd to restore historic Berkshire site
Oakman launches £2.5m crowdfunding campaign on Downing Crowd to restore historic Berkshire site: Oakman Property, new owner of the historic Royal Foresters pub in Berkshire, is seeking to raise £2.5m through crowdfunding platform Downing Crowd to restore the site. New management Oakman Inns & Restaurants is embarking on a complete renovation of the property to turn it into a pub restaurant with letting rooms, subject to obtaining the necessary planning permission. Oakman Inns & Restaurants, which manages 18 pub restaurants across the Home Counties and Midlands, has committed to invest £3.5m to develop the site. Downing Crowd already has a strong relationship with Oakman Inns, having previously raised £4.47m through crowdfunding for other sites managed by Oakman Inns, including The Akeman in Tring, Hertfordshire, and more recently a grade II-listed pub restaurant renovation in Olney, 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 company’s assets. This security seeks to reduce investor risk by enabling Downing, as security trustee, the right to sell these assets if the borrower defaults on the bond. Investors in this latest £2.5m crowdfunding raise, known as the Royal Foresters Pub Bond, can potentially earn up to 7.5% per annum interest during a period of up to 18 months. This is a higher interest rate than typically offered on crowd bonds, reflecting the higher risks involved as Royal Foresters is not yet trading. The Royal Foresters Pub Bond is also available through Downing Crowd’s new Innovative Finance ISA tax wrapper, which allows investors to earn tax-free interest. Peter Borg-Neal, founder and chief executive of Oakman Inns and director of Oakman Property, said: “It’s a privilege to be able to breathe new life into the historic Royal Foresters site that was once at the heart of the local community. Crowdfunding investors are helping make this a reality and we are excited to be working again with Downing on this latest project. We’ll also focus on creating local jobs along the way and helping with the community’s wider sustainability efforts, highlighted by our top rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Julia Groves, head of crowdfunding at Downing Crowd, added: “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 more than £85m funding support for 60 pubs across the UK over the past 15 years. And the wealth of sector experience Oakman Inns brings to the company really sets this particular business apart. More than 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 with savings accounts, they can potentially offer attractive returns in the current climate of low interest rates and rising inflation.”

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