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Community company seals deal to takeover 16th century Suffolk pub with rare taproom

PUBLISHED: 11:39 05 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:45 06 May 2018

The Low House Laxfield CIC celebrate buying the pub, pictured l-r, Alison Oughton, Tim Woolnough, Emma Hawkins, Ian Boulton, Mike Hawkins and Al Clarke. Picture: SALLY CLARKE

The Low House Laxfield CIC celebrate buying the pub, pictured l-r, Alison Oughton, Tim Woolnough, Emma Hawkins, Ian Boulton, Mike Hawkins and Al Clarke. Picture: SALLY CLARKE

Archant

One of Suffolk’s quirkiest and most historic pubs has secured its future after being bought-out by a group of regulars.

The King's Head in Laxfield has been bought by a commumnity interest company in the village. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe King's Head in Laxfield has been bought by a commumnity interest company in the village. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The 16th Century King’s Head, also known as the Low House, in Laxfield, has been the subject of much discussion among villagers and pub-lovers amid speculation it had been put up for sale.

The pub is one of only a few remaining taprooms - where customers see their pints poured straight from the barrels in the absence of a bar – and is revered as a “chocolate box” embodiment of a traditional country inn.

Earlier this year, villagers contacted the EADT raising fears that this “ancient pub” could be lost after confusion grew around the process of registering it as an asset of community value.

However, it was later established that a group of regulars had clubbed together to form a community interest company, to takeover the pub from its brewery owners Adnams.

The pub is one of the few remaining examples of a taproom. Picture: PHIL MORELYThe pub is one of the few remaining examples of a taproom. Picture: PHIL MORELY

It can now be revealed that The Low House Laxfield CIC completed the purchase of the pub on Friday.

CIC members have praised the brewery for its support during the sale and its continued help in running the pub as a free house.

“We are very grateful to Adnams for having worked with us to make this exciting venture possible,” said a CIC spokesman.

“The pub is a focal point for the village and our aim is to return it to a thriving, welcoming place with fantastic beer and delicious pub food. As a CIC, any profit made by the pub will be invested in the local community and we are really looking forward to taking over the reins.”

The pub will reopen under new management in mid-May. Picture: PHIL MORLEYThe pub will reopen under new management in mid-May. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

A spokesperson for Adnams said previously that the brewery wanted to ensure the pub could remain “vibrant community pub.”

The CIC has also received the backing of Laxfield Parish Council, which last year applied to Mid Suffolk District Council to have it registered as an asset of community value.

Suffolk has established a successful track record of communities taking ownership of their local pubs, often saving them from closure. Examples include the Duke of Marlborough in Somersham, the Case is Altered in Bentley, the Brook Inn in Washbrook and the Sorrel Horse in Shottisham.

The Low House is open over Bank Holiday weekend but will then close until mid-May when it is set to reopen under new management.

The 16th century inn is well-liked for its traditional emobodiment of a country pub. Picture: PHIL MORLEYThe 16th century inn is well-liked for its traditional emobodiment of a country pub. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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