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Thu 11th Feb 2016 - Laine Pub Company named as partner for £3.8m heritage pub project
Laine Pub Company named as partner for £3.8m heritage pub project: Multi-million pound restoration plans for an historic, semi-derelict pub in south London are now a step closer after The Laine Pub Company, led by Gavin George and backed by Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital partners, was named by social landlord Phoenix Community Housing as its operating partner in the restoration project. Laine’s will manage the Fellowship Inn in Bellingham, south London, following the extensive restoration works, which are due to be completed in 2017. Laine’s was pitted against other multiple operators in tendering for the lease. That process required candidates to demonstrate how the pub would be operated to meet criteria derived from a public consultation in 2015 which attracted over 1,400 responses. The consultation encouraged south London residents to have their say on proposals for the building and helped to shape and formalise Phoenix’s plans to restore the 1920s pub. Phoenix and Laine’s will now work together on the restoration of the pub which is part-funded by a Heritage Enterprise grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Laine’s will work with Phoenix to deliver the restored pub and create: a cinema, theatre, music hub with rehearsal room, coffee shop and micro-brewery. The Fellowship will deliver a range of social and community benefits, in support of Phoenix’s broader vision for the pub to create opportunities for local people, deliver cultural experiences and support regeneration of the area. These projects will include apprenticeships, work experience placements and job opportunities for local residents. Phoenix, a resident-owned housing association which manages 6,300 homes, was awarded a grant of £3.8m by the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore The Fellowship Inn in November 2014. The pub was built as part of a ‘Homes for Heroes’ estate for veterans of the First World War and their families. It later formed a training base for the heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper ahead of his fight with Cassius Clay in 1963, and world-famous bands including Fleetwood Mac and The Yardbirds played there in the 1960s. Laine’s, an operator of an estate of 47 pubs in London and Brighton, has experience of managing large, multi-functional venues. These include pubs that are also home to theatres, comedy clubs, music venues, art galleries, micro-breweries and even a circus. Laine’s chief executive, Gavin George said: “In Phoenix we were pleased to find a landlord whose cultural and community objectives mirrored those that have been fundamental to our success since our first pub in 1996. We bring 20 years of commercial expertise in pub management to the project and are excited and grateful to be involved with Phoenix and to take custodianship of this gem of a pub.” Phoenix chief executive Jim Ripley said: “ We’re very excited by the potential of the Fellowship Inn to become a landmark building and a thriving venue in our area. Once the restoration of the pub’s complete we’ll be handing over the keys to our operating partner, and we know they’ll be absolutely critical to the success of the project. We’re delighted to have appointed Laine’s, who bring with them significant experience and commercial expertise, but most importantly, share our ethos and community-focused vision for the pub. We’re really looking forward to starting work on the building and to working with Laine’s to create a venue that everyone can enjoy.” Phoenix and Laine’s will now work together with Thomas Ford Architects who were appointed in December 2015 to develop plans for the restoration of the building before a second stage bid to secure the funding is submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year. Phoenix is currently looking for arts and cultural partners to deliver a number of community heritage projects, which will include a tapestry, performance project and oral history project. 

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