March 11 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Two keen cyclists are giving a former village pub a new lease of life by transforming it into a bike shop and licensed cafe - which they believe will be the first of its kind in the area.
Father and son team Barry and Matt Denny, who are both part of the West Suffolk Wheelers cycling club, are currently developing the closed Metcalfe Arms in Hawstead, near Bury St Edmunds.
The vision is for the former pub, which has been shut since summer 2012, to become a hub for cyclists and non-cyclists alike.
The cycling centre and destination cafe will be trading as Maglia Rosso - which is Italian for red jersey.
Barry and Matt run Lark Valley Projects, which has purchased the building and normally renovates residential properties and puts them back into use.
Barry, who is vice chairman of West Suffolk Wheelers, said it would probably cost about £100,000 to transform the building, which is believed to have 17th-century origins. It is being converted into a cycle shop and showroom, workshop and café, with a patio and garden and a large car and cycle parking area.
Barry said: “Me and Matt are both active cyclists and have always thought of starting up a bike shop and when this opportunity came up for combining both things together - renovating the building and turning it into a bike shop and cafe - we thought this is too good an opportunity to miss.”
Barry said the “massive increase” in the popularity of cycling as a sport and leisure activity had created big demand for good quality bikes, accessories, repairs and service and, with the added attraction of a really good café, it was hoped the former pub would become a popular destination for cyclists as well as non-cyclists.
He said plans included cycle hire for riders of all ages and abilities, with maps of routes available, and training facilities for those wanting to improve their fitness and skills.
Barry, who said there had been much local support for the project, added: “It is hoped that the work will be completed in time for an official opening in April, in good time for the summer when the region will see none other than the Tour de France coming through in addition to the inaugural Women’s Tour of Britain finishing in Bury St Edmunds in May.”