Stonham Aspal: Doubt project to reopen The Ten Bells pub will go-ahead
06:00 04 March 2014
The chairman behind a group campaigning to raise money to allow a community to buy its village pub has admitted that the project is unlikely to go ahead.
For months the group, which has been trying to reopen The Ten Bells, in Stonham Aspal, has worked to encourage people to put forward money to own a part of the pub, near Stowmarket.
There was hope the pub would open in Easter as a “community hub” with options to include a shop and a meeting area within the establishment which has been empty since March last year.
But Tracey Hall, chairman of the group, said just under £63,000 had been pledged in shares in the pub, which is currently protected from outside bids as it is recorded as a community asset.
The pub is listed on the market by owners Punch Taverns for about £200,000, according to the group.
“At the moment it will probably not happen but I cannot say for sure until we have a meeting on Thursday,” Miss Hall said.
“We have invited everyone who has invested to the meeting. I think given the fact that we have not got a 40% deposit means it’s highly unlikely that it will happen which is really disappointing. I think it’s a real shame because I think people have missed an opportunity.”
She said that the group would need to raise a deposit of at least 40% to be considered for a loan for the remaining amount.
“I think we will have to ditch the idea unless someone comes up with a vast amount of money – maybe double the offering, then it’s a different ball game,” Miss Hall added.
On top of the cost of purchasing the building, the group would need thousands of pounds for the pub’s refurbishment as well as ongoing running costs. The group believes the pub would need substantial investment before it could be opened. The original fundraising target was more than £300,000.
Around 60 people have pledged money in pub shares – including holidaymakers who have been to the village and former residents of the area. An option which could be considered is whether to run the pub as a limited company if about half a dozen investors can be found.