Thrings lawyers play key part in saving iconic Bath music pub

July 12, 2013

Expert advice from lawyers at Thrings, the M4 corridor legal firm with an office in Bristol, has helped save an iconic Bath pub.

The Bell Inn, a popular live music venue on the city’s bohemian Walcot Street, was threatened with permanent closure when its former owners decided to sell. 

Regulars, staff and members of the local community snapped into action to form a cooperative to raise funds to buy the business and keep it going.

Some 538 people joined, including music industry figures such as Peter Gabriel, Michael Eavis and Robert Plant – bringing in enough cash to allow Thrings to successfully negotiate the acquisition of the pub and entertainment business in the largest community cooperative buyout of its kind in the UK.

Thrings commercial and corporate partner Alex Pyatt, pictured, said: “This was a very unusual deal as the company was set up as an industrial and provident society in order for it to be able to issue shares easily to raise the funds. 

“It’s not a situation that arises every day and we always needed to be mindful of the interests of all these investors. Therefore it was vitally important for the Bell cooperative to receive accurate and expert advice and guidance in order to obtain to best end result for all involved.

“The fundraising and the subsequent acquisition of the business and property has saved this Bath institution and shown that the ‘little man’ can win out over big developers. Thrings is proud to have played such a pivotal role in maintaining a part the city’s cultural and musical heritage.”

The Bell’s director and general manager Patrick Cave added: “One of the key initial decisions we made in the process of trying to take over The Bell on behalf of the community was to assemble a team of top professionals from the worlds of design, accounting, law and so forth. 

“With limited funds available at that stage, we asked these professionals to help us out as much as they could and were delighted that Thrings were able to come on board, ticking all of these boxes.”

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