Wickham Market: Beer festival to support pub restoration dream
13:00 18 July 2014
A passionate supporter of the drinks industry is hoping his beer festival will support plans to reinstate a Suffolk village’s only remaining pub, which burned down last year.
The Turner and Taylor Hog and Ale Experience is returning to Wickham Market this evening for a three-day festival featuring live music, food and around 20 varieties of ale and cider.
Festival organiser Ross Turner said he hoped the event would revive spirits in the village, which was left without a pub after The George Inn was hit by fire in April 2013.
Community leaders have been pressing for Punch Taverns to repair the building and to reopen it again as a pub.
Mr Turner said he hopes the festival might demonstrate suitable demand to encourage quicker action from the owners.
“I’m a strong believer in the importance of pubs and I think events like this can demonstrate the need for them to be saved,” he said.
“Hopefully people in the community will jump on board and push the right buttons to start getting The George rebuilt.”
Bryan Hall, who is Wickham Market’s district councillor, said people in the village “generally welcomed the festival” and he hoped it would be well attended.
He also reported “encouraging progress” with The George, after meetings between Suffolk Coastal District Council and Punch Taverns indicated an application for its redevelopment was likely to be forthcoming.
“Early discussion indicate that an application will be coming, we just don’t know when,” he said.
“The district council is pressing for an early decision and it seemed there was encouraging progress being made at the latest meeting held three weeks ago.”
The event, held at Wickham Market village hall, will also feature a “pop-up pub” offering a selection of wines and spirits. It begins at 6pm this evening and will run from 11am tomorrow and Sunday, closing early evening on the final day and featuring a hog roast throughout.
Alibi Club will be performing at 8pm on Friday and Words and Music will take to the stage at the same time on Saturday. Suffolk songwriter Justine de Mierre will perform at lunchtime on Sunday.