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Sale Complete. The Greys is now a Freehouse!

Keith No Comments

The contracts on The Greys were completed on Wednesday 18th 2018 and so the sale has been finalised to the new owners.

It is done.

Enterprise were convinced to sell to us rather than a higher bidder, it was only contractual issues that prevented it happening.

Out of 4 pubs recently sold by Enterprise in the local area, this is the only one not sold to developers. Even though we weren’t able to complete the purchase ourselves, this is still a major achievement in itself.

Thanks you so much for your passion for supporting a great pub, community spaces, live music and great beer.

The new owners have gone public on their other pubs website so we are free to say who they are.

They are James and Paul who come from a family of publicans and who have one other pub themselves. This is a pub in a group of terraced houses and serves craft beer, Belgium beer and has live music and a busy raft of other activities. So that you can get a flavour of how they operate, their pub is called the Lamplighter on Northampton and here is a link to their website.

They hope to open in the next week or so at The Greys and I’m sure that if you can, you will pop in and show your support in person.

We intend to keep active as Friends of The Greys, because we want Paul and James to succeed,  and if there are opening events etc. we will let you know.

Other updates on

Facebook /savethegreyspub
Twitter @savethegreys

Thanks you so much again.

Keith Farmer

Chair, Friends of The Greys

18th April 2018

Keith No Comments

An update

The buyers of The Greys are due to complete their purchase on the 18th April 2018. This is the 20 days plus a 2 week extension on the common auction law contract.

If this goes ahead then the crowdfunder campaign will be closed and all monies returned.

If the sale falls through then of course we will give our best efforts to carry the campaign through to fruition.

The two brothers that are in the process of buying The Greys, have expressed their interest in sitting with Friends of The Greys to help achieve a sustainable vibrant pub that will be there for many years to come.

If any special events are agreed then you will be amongst the first to know.

Many thanks you community minded folk you.

Keith Farmer
Chair, Friends of The Greys

The Greys is Sold and Will Remain a Pub

Keith No Comments

After a period of intense activity, that seems to have gone on for weeks, and that has had many twists and turns, I must tell you that contracts were exchanged on the Greys for an undisclosed sum late on Wednesday, February 21 between Ei Group and an existing pub operator.

Whilst we are not able to say who the pub operators are at this stage, I am happy to tell you that they are not a pubco, but rather a small, independent operator, that has one other pub, that sells Belgium beer, American and other Craft Beers and has a busy live music scene.

One of our aims, if we didn’t end up buying the pub, was to generate so much awareness of The Greys that somebody of like mind would buy it, and that looks like what is happening.

Obviously there has been disappointment along the way for Friends of the Greys, as our bid for the freehold was accepted by owner Ei Group but, despite our best efforts, the deal could not be finalised due to imposed deadlines and the insistence that the sale went through an auction contract process. This meant we were being asked to take certain risks, and whilst we asked for more time to ensure safeguards were in place, the extension was not granted and the deadline sadly had to pass.

As a Community Benefit Society, we are bound to ensure that your investment is protected, and we were not prepared to commit to a sale that put that issue in jeopardy.

That said, in just a few months we have built an effective community organisation in Friends of the Greys, and demonstrated there are many people, near and far, happy to part with ready-money to see it survive and thrive, and to get actively involved.

The campaign has also attracted the support and interest of politicians, influential community groups, media, brewers, and the pub industry. Even Enterprise Inns has been forced to take us seriously, the CEO was personally involved. Together we are, in short, a credible organisation with influence and as investors, you have made that possible.

The sale is not complete for a month or so and we intend to keep the crowfunder open until mid to late April in case the sale falls through, if that’s ok with shareholders. After this time they will get their money back if we don’t buy the pub. As always, people can withdraw their money at any time, if they wish.

There are so many people to thank for playing a vital part in this exciting project and by everybody getting together, we so very nearly bought the pub.

I salute everybody that has played their part.

The buyers have asked to meet Friends of The Greys over a beverage and discuss how we can work together in the future. It is looking promising.

We will keep you updated when we know more.


Keith Farmer
Chair, Friends of The Greys Ltd.

Update On The Sales Process

Keith No Comments
Image by Laurie Hilton-Ash

Image by Laurie Hilton-Ash

An update to let you know that all is on-going with liaising with the estate agent for the seller.

In addition our MP, and now we ourselves, have written to the CEO of ei group, the owner of The Greys to try and get things to happen for us more smoothly.

Be assured that we are beavering away to make this happen.

We have extended the crowdfunder so that should the sale be agreed we can put the buyout into the most sustainable financial position with some intensive fundraising.

Keep em crossed!

Friends of The Greys

The bid is in!

Keith No Comments

We have entered our bid for The Greys and now await a response from Fleurets estate agent.
So while we are waiting, here is a nice piece in the Brighton and Hove News.


SITR Tax Relief Secured and less than 24 hours to bid!

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Recent news from HMRC

Recent news from HMRC

With less than 24 hours until we put in our bid to buy The Greys, share purchases have been awarded Social Investment Tax Relief. This is the first of what we have applied for and it means investors will receive 30% Tax Relief.

We have also applied for advance assurance under the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and are at the final stages. This will mean 50% tax relief.

We are intending to bid by the noon deadline tomorrow 1st Feb.

If Enterprise are not satisfied with the offers they get tomorrow they have booked The Greys into an auction on Park Lane in London on the 2nd February.

We need all the investors and donators we can. If you haven’t already visit the crowdfunder site at and join the nearly 100 investors.


Stop Press – We Are Poised To Bid!!

Keith 2 comments
Image by Laurie Hilton-Ash

Image by Laurie Hilton-Ash

Grants secured means cash that is raised is effectively doubled!

Friends of the Greys, the group formed to take control of Brighton’s famous live music venue for the local community, is poised to make an offer for the pub.

Landlord Ei Group has set a noon February 1st deadline for bids for the freehold after reducing the asking price.

Although the Save the Greys crowdfunding campaign is still short of its target, additional grants and loan capital secured means a viable bid is now possible.

One match-funding grant means the current crowdfunding total – plus each and every new contribution, however large or small – will be worth double to the project.

Now Friends of the Greys is urging a final big push over the next few days to make sure the community has the best possible chance of making a winning bid, securing a working capital base, and going on to develop the pub into a long-term asset for the people of Hanover.

Please visit and donate or buy shares!

“Thanks to match-funding, every £1 of shares bought and small donations made will add £2 to the money we have,” said Friends of the Greys spokesman Keith Farmer. “Along with other grants and loans we have lined up, we are confident we can make a serious offer for the business – but every penny counts.

“If anyone has been thinking about buying shares, now is the time to do it. Turning the Greys into a community-owned pub and protecting and developing this much-loved music venue is a very real prospect.

“The pub could be ours. Now is the time to invest and make sure you’re a part of this exciting project.”

We have been offered help and advice by Big Society Capital, Co-operative & Community Finance, Community Shares and More Than a Pub.

Fractured offer up their song “Pubs” to help Save The Greys!

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It’s not real. Really. Image by Vaughan Parker

“Give us pubs, not homes” Fractured lead singer Jeff Hayward bellows melodiously, and who can wonder why with this nightmare monstrosity built where the legendary Greys pub should be!

Don’t panic! It’s not real, it’s an artists impression of if things go horribly wrong.

Things are coming to a head now for The Greys. Now that it will be free of the beer tie, we have an opportunity to make it even better by creating a beer as well as music focused pub.

Please go to the crowfunder site and buy shares or donate. Every penny is likely to be match-funded and share buys are likely to attract 50% tax relief.

Fractured have their 35th anniversary gig and album launch coming up at The Hope, Brighton on 21st April 2018

Sir Martyn Lewis Stormed The Greys!

Keith No Comments

There has been so much happening with the campaign to get the Greys onto the firm foundations that it needs to be the best beer and music centered pub in Hanover.

This is one from just before Christmas – Sir Martin Lewis and his family and friends came along to show support and raise money for the pub purchase fund.

Here is an excelent articel in the Brighton and Hove News.

Sir Martyn Lewis

Crowfunder Extension!

Keith No Comments

During the first three weeks of December, we’ve been successful in attracting more than 60 investors like you who share our vision to recreate this iconic Brighton pub and music venue as a community-owned asset. In addition to the many individuals who have backed this exciting project, we have been amazed by the level of positive support received from the community, the Hanover ward councillors, our MP Caroline Lucas, and from many local businesses, with some pledging financial as well as moral support.

Time was clearly too short to raise then amount needed and now we have an extension.

More here