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A Steep Mountain to Climb

Following the decision taken by the Hampshire Executive Member on 31 July to reject the bids from THCH and HIWWT and to put Haven House on the market for sale in mid September, we met the HCC officers on 21 August.

At that meeting, they confirmed that Haven House would be marketed in three to four weeks' time but that HCC was 'open to consider any bid received in relation to Haven House up until an offer is accepted'.

This leaves us with a very challenging situation. We know that HCC is seeking to achieve a capital receipt of £1.3 million to spend on the Haven, as stated in their report approved on 8 December 2022; at the public meeting on 31 July, it was stated that the receipt from the sale of Haven Cottage was £500,000. That leaves them with a gap of £800,000.

Our own 'red book' valuation of Haven House, undertaken by a specialist independent valuer, is for a maximum of £627,500.

We therefore need to think through whether we can and should make an offer of £627,500, or even a higher sum: however, as a charity, we would need to think very carefully about offering any sum that exceeded the valuation. If we did make an offer, we would need to undertake a very ambitious fundraising campaign to demonstrate to HCC that we could raise the money. During that time, HCC might well accept a higher offer from another potential buyer.

We are going to take advice from one of our supporters who is very experienced in fund raising as to how realistic such a large fund raising effort would be. We are looking at other sources of grant funding but it is unlikely that such large sums would be available in the timescale

It is also important to be clear that the purchase sum would be in addition to the money we need for remedial and refurbishment work to 'match fund' the Community Ownership Fund grant of £186,000. You will recall that in late July we asked for pledges for community shares to meet that sum and you responded magnificently: the total pledged within a week was £222,000. But the purchase cost is a much larger sum and is over and above that.

We will send out a further update as soon as we have been able to reach a conclusion on the feasibility of such a significant fund raising campaign. It may be that we have to accept it is beyond us, but of course we will welcome your thoughts.

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