A local interest group eyeing the development of Ballspond Farm have secured a £1m loan and are set to launch a share issue, My Kings News can reveal.
The project, organised by a group soon to be formally registered as Kings Langley Community Benefit Society (KLCBS), would see Ballspond Farm transformed into a biodynamic farm and affordable housing community with an education centre, café and farm shop.
The Hertfordshire County Council-owned farm is currently on the market for £1.75m with KLCBS aiming to beat off two other bidders for its purchase. The group’s cause was helped on November 11 as it was approved a £1m loan from ethical bank Triodos, though more funds are still needed to allow KLCBS to bid on the farm.
To raise this the group will open a share issue launch on December 6, as it looks to get £400,000 from £100 shares.
Project manager and village resident Jean-Paul Martinez told My Kings News that the loan agreement was welcome news.
He said: “It is not every day that you get a phone call saying that you will be loaned £1m, it was a pretty rare moment. It was great to hear as without the support of the bank our task would be much more difficult. We’ve now covered a lot of ground and we are positive that we can make this happen.
“The share issue is a critical stage for us,” he added. “We’re hoping to see as many people down there as possible, we think that this development will have benefits for all of the community. We’re now going to the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) for registration as a charity also.”
Though a purchase deal is not yet in place, informal discussions on the site are already underway with Dacorum Borough Council officers. To assist with this Kings Langley Parish Council agreed to award Transition in Kings £500 to go towards pre-planning advice fees, while county councillor Richard Roberts also pledged £350 of his locality budget.
KLCBS’ share issue launch will take place at Kings Langley Parish Council’s offices in Charter Court, on December 6 from 4pm-6pm. For more information log on to www.saveourballspondfarm.org or www.facebook.com/ballspondfarm