Debenham: Heated parish meeting discusses plans to down-size The Angel pub
PUBLISHED: 16:05 21 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:06 21 March 2013
VILLAGERS have argued over the future of a pub which is to be down-sized because the owners want to reduce costs.
About 35 people packed into Dove Cottage for a Debenham Parish Council meeting that discussed the future of The Angel pub.
Owners Nick and Stacey Paine were at the meeting and faced a barrage of questions from villagers. A member of the public said: “I think a lot of the lack of understanding on the community’s part of the proposal’s arrangements is that we do not understand that this portion of the pub is more viable than the pub in its previous form.
“You are not happy to share that information, so the community will continue to oppose it.”
Mr Paine said the pub’s floor space would be reduced by about six to seven square metres.
Mrs Paine said a new landlady would run the pub, with herself and Mr Paine remaining the owners. She said they hoped to open shortly.
She said: “The new landlady had done it for a lot of years and is keen to open. I think it’s important that people give her their support.
“We are moving out to make it happen. It will make the pub more sustainable and reduce outgoings as it’s smaller.”
A member of the audience asked how much money would be saved by the changes. But Mrs Paine said she was not prepared to discuss the contract between the couple and the new landlady.
Council chairman Richard Blackwell said: “We have to accept that there are some local sensitivities included with this. It’s very pleasing to hear that you will open pretty rapidly. That’s good news.”
Several villagers asked their district councillor, who was in the meeting, if their views could be put forward to Mid Suffolk District Council.
Councillor Kathie Guthrie said the district council could not take “speculative comments” from the public as no planning application was required for the pub’s changes.
She said: “I have kept abreast with the strength of feelings within the community and have received emails and letters and had conversations with many people.”