Plan to bring Bromley's Royal Bell Hotel back to life as community arts building

News Shopper: Amanda Hone has a plan to bring Bromley's Royal Bell Hotel back to life as community arts building Amanda Hone has a plan to bring Bromley's Royal Bell Hotel back to life as community arts building

A DELAPIDATED hotel building could be brought back to life brick by brick for the community if a businesswoman’s rescue plan succeeds.

The Grade II listed Royal Bell in Bromley High Street has been closed for several years after being home to a succession of failed pubs and talks are now underway to turn it into a Chinese restaurant.

But instead of accepting the plan by leaseholder Spirit Group, Amanda Hone wants to get people together to buy the building outright from the owner British Land Group.

If this is successful she hopes to turn the property into a community and arts space.

On the top two floors would be offices for community groups and charities with the first floor becoming a performing arts venue.

The stables would have exhibition space, a gallery and a shop and the ground floor would have a coffee shop and a pub with the small rooms turned into studio and rehearsal spaces.

Ms Hone said: “The ultimate goal is to have the building bought by the people of Bromley.

“I’m going to set up a community land trust so people can buy one brick of the Royal Bell.

“It will be bought by the community for the community and it is something for people to be proud of.

“We have a chance to do this and public support is going to be so important and I think given the opportunity people will say ‘Yes, I will buy a £50 share in my community’.”

The Royal Bell was built in 1898 on the site of an old coaching inn and is on English Heritage's Buildings at Risk register.

Ms Hone, who does the marketing for nearby Ferrari’s restaurant, has set up a Bromley Arts and Community Initiative blog where people can get involved at bromleyartsandcommunity.blogspot.co.uk

And she can be emailed at amanda.c.hone@gmail.com

Comments (6)

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7:48pm Sun 3 Feb 13

gottleofgear says...

Where do I sign up, sounds like a brilliant idea. How much is a brick going to be, I'll invest a bit of my hard earned dosh in it. Good for her!
Where do I sign up, sounds like a brilliant idea. How much is a brick going to be, I'll invest a bit of my hard earned dosh in it. Good for her! gottleofgear
  • Score: 1

11:18pm Sun 3 Feb 13

goldenbroomboy says...

A good idea.

But use the K word, not the L word.

Good luck Amanda.
A good idea. But use the K word, not the L word. Good luck Amanda. goldenbroomboy
  • Score: 1

12:53pm Mon 4 Feb 13

amandahone says...

Thanks for the comments guys! The idea is to have the Royal Bell as a community owned pub through a combination of grants and shares bought by the people of Bromley. It'll cost about £50 a share and for that you become a landlord of the Royal Bell! There's a long way to go but support is building and so many people are saying they don't want a Chinese restaurant in this historic old pub which has so much potential to be used for the whole Bromley community. We have no community building so its our chance to create one :) Just like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/bro
mleyartsandcommunity or email me to get involved.
Thanks for the comments guys! The idea is to have the Royal Bell as a community owned pub through a combination of grants and shares bought by the people of Bromley. It'll cost about £50 a share and for that you become a landlord of the Royal Bell! There's a long way to go but support is building and so many people are saying they don't want a Chinese restaurant in this historic old pub which has so much potential to be used for the whole Bromley community. We have no community building so its our chance to create one :) Just like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/bro mleyartsandcommunity or email me to get involved. amandahone
  • Score: 1

1:23pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Gavinp says...

How do the other Chinese restaurants feel that are with in 300 yards of The Bell?.....


The rest of it is a good idea how ever:)
How do the other Chinese restaurants feel that are with in 300 yards of The Bell?..... The rest of it is a good idea how ever:) Gavinp
  • Score: 1

9:08pm Mon 4 Feb 13

gottleofgear says...

You can count me in for a share! Will go join the Facebook group now.
You can count me in for a share! Will go join the Facebook group now. gottleofgear
  • Score: 1

9:10pm Sun 10 Feb 13

mseven says...

I don't want to be a downer on things but in reality it would be better using the building as a pub and/or restaurant such as TGI Friday or Wagamamas

The business rates on the property is about £64,000 per year as it currently is and to buy the property it would cost over £1 Million. If the upper floors were used as offices instead of a hotel the business rates will increase.

There are also no shortage of offices in Bromley and the charities and community groups would have to be charged for the space to pay for the building cost and it would be cheaper for them going elsewhere.

The other services the community arts building would offer such as performing arts, gallery, exhibition space and studio/rehearsal rooms are already the sort of things available at the civic centre and central library.

There is also an issue with selling shares at £50 each. If the cost of the building is £1Million there would need to be 20,000 bricks sold just to cover the cost of buying the building. There would also need to be a limit to how many bricks someone can buy otherwise it will no longer be a community owned building. The price will need to vary, £50 in the terms of this business would require a high number of investors. It's also unfair to those who investors, the initial £50s the company is worth nothing and when/if the company turns over a profit it will still be the same price. If the company doesn't turn over a profit those brick owners will need to invest more money.

I am not saying it won't work but a it has been a bar for years and although the previous bar went out of business a bar has worked out in the past
I don't want to be a downer on things but in reality it would be better using the building as a pub and/or restaurant such as TGI Friday or Wagamamas The business rates on the property is about £64,000 per year as it currently is and to buy the property it would cost over £1 Million. If the upper floors were used as offices instead of a hotel the business rates will increase. There are also no shortage of offices in Bromley and the charities and community groups would have to be charged for the space to pay for the building cost and it would be cheaper for them going elsewhere. The other services the community arts building would offer such as performing arts, gallery, exhibition space and studio/rehearsal rooms are already the sort of things available at the civic centre and central library. There is also an issue with selling shares at £50 each. If the cost of the building is £1Million there would need to be 20,000 bricks sold just to cover the cost of buying the building. There would also need to be a limit to how many bricks someone can buy otherwise it will no longer be a community owned building. The price will need to vary, £50 in the terms of this business would require a high number of investors. It's also unfair to those who investors, the initial £50s the company is worth nothing and when/if the company turns over a profit it will still be the same price. If the company doesn't turn over a profit those brick owners will need to invest more money. I am not saying it won't work but a it has been a bar for years and although the previous bar went out of business a bar has worked out in the past mseven
  • Score: 0

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