I thought that I should share the latest update on the current venue; I guess that I hope this is because it forms part of a story that some of you will remember when you sit at the bar!
Firstly an impending end of period target has driven the pub company vendor to push full and final offers on a large number of sales including this one. There are two ways of looking at this, I could say that it if I had been a month earlier it wouldn’t have got to this stage or I could see it as improving the odds of getting a deal done. As Jo is always reminding me, the glass is half full so I am happy with the sudden breakneck urgency. Of course these new deadlines push the trades and surveys in order that I can have some chance of making a vaguely informed offer and time is never as critical for these guys.
Some communication difficulties occurred before my stonemason arrived and even then I was only aware because the agent told me. I had an interesting conversation with the heritage stonemason last night a significant portion of which was spent explaining that I am not English Heritage and I do not have their resources, that said I do want to preserve the stonework as best as I can practically. It would appear that the stonework is in appalling condition and, as expected, has been abused by its pub company owners. Although the popular thing to do now would be to bemoan the corporate greed of the pub company I have a different target, apparently it is all the fault of the bloody Victorians!
The stonemason tells me that after all the big churches were built there wasn’t a great deal of stone available to the Victorians. Faced with an absence of building materials the Victorians discovered a reach seam of green sandstone or, to give it its modern name, marshmallow. This stone is incredibly soft but looks the part so it fuelled the Victorian building boom on the island, but like toxic mortgage it didn’t have the longevity of earlier materials. So the root of the problem is that some Victorian used cheap stone to build what would, admittedly some years later, become my potential problem I will remember this the nest time I hear “what did the Victorians do for me”.
The problem is not insurmountable, they rarely are, but it does mean that the stone work is unlikely to survive in its current state. The two exposed corners of the building do require complete replacement along with the hideous cement mortar which needs repointing. The facing stonework is likely to be best served by lime rendering since the underlying stone is so soft. Having considered this overnight I can see that this can make a sympathetic repair with the keystones being brought out a couple of inches and the render stippled and left natural. It is important to me that the old part of the building is restored, after all a massive part of the community pub is its history. Having hopefully struck the balance between commercial reality and loving preservation the stonemason is set to prepare some numbers for me today, bated breath doesn’t come close.
The roof work that is required is somewhat more in my comfort zone. Roofs are standard materials priced at relatively standard values and I have quoted them before. In reality the roofs require little more than the “maintenance” that is so beloved of valuation reports. If you are valuing a property for a lender then why not suggest that the roofs require maintenance after all it removes any risk from you doesn’t it?
So there we are, it is all in the maths still but I am a lot closer to having those numbers. Hopefully next week sees MS Excel turning some cells green and I can steam ahead. There is some other interest, limiting the numbers, which I believe is from a developer. I would much rather this project grew back into the happy little pub that it was and took its rightful role in the centre of the community but in a harsh commercial world that gains no points in the competition so its fingers crossed that I will soon be back in my favoured role.