Mystery surrounds the future of these much-loved Suffolk pubs
PUBLISHED: 10:12 18 September 2018
Three of Suffolk's most picturesque village pubs have all been put on the market recently by Suffolk Country Inns.
In the Dedham Vale, The Angel Inn, a 16th century coaching inn in Stoke by Nayland, and the Anchor Inn, with its picture postcard riverside setting in Nayland, have both been on the market since May.
And Suffolk Country Inns, which until 2016 was known as Exclusive Inns, has already sold its other Suffolk country pub, The Swan Inn in Monks Eleigh, which reopened on Friday under new ownership.
The commercial property advisor Christie & Co, which was instructed on the freehold sale of all three pubs, released a statement explaining that the current owners of The Angel and The Anchor decided to move on as their main business is located in the far South West of England. It read: “They are looking to focus their management resources there. They have invested greatly in both sites and look forward to seeing the businesses continue to go from strength to strength.”
Christie & Co is seeking £1,295,000 for the freehold interest of The Angel, which is reduced from its original price of £1,395,000, and £799,000 for The Anchor Inn, which has been reduced from the initial asking price of £895,000.
The Grade II-listed Angel Inn, located in the heart of Constable Country, boasts a lounge, bar and dining rooms, six en-suite double bedrooms, a garden and a detached building providing owner’s accommodation.
The Anchor Inn has a rear decking area with an outside bar and picnic benches by the river Stour. It also has its own smoke-house, with planning permission to extend the restaurant, kitchen and riverside space.
The Anchor has served the Dedham Vale for more than 500 years and was previously owned by the Bunting family, whose company, Bunting and Sons, went into administration in 2013 with debts of £14.7million.
Local resident of Stoke by Nayland, Peter French said that he hopes buyers can be found for the pubs. “It will be a tragedy for both villages loose these great restaurants. Both have extremely good reputations for their food and drink and bring important revenue and employment. We have lost too many public houses from the area, important community meeting places, where locals and visitors can meet.”
Richard Appleby, who is from Dedham, commented: “I’ve used both places (the Anchor and the Angel) on and off, however both need regular visitors to be sustainable and times have changed. It would definitely be a shame to lose either pub, but I would think the Anchor is the more viable as the last pub in Nayland which used to have 3 or 4, if I remember correctly.
“It was a very sad day when the Black Horse in Stoke by Nayland in 2002- that was one of my favourites in the 90’s we also used to frequent the Lion, which sadly also closed in January.”
Lorraine Morrison, a resident of Nayland, said she thought the Anchor was “pretty busy”, especially in the summer, thanks to its riverside location. “Nayland and Wiston has lost 3 B&Bs in the last few years through retirement, not lack of custom,” she explained. “The area is popular with tourists so hopefully the Angel Inn is sustainable as an inn as well as for dining, even with competition across the road in the form of the Crown restaurant and hotel.”
Anthony Jenkins, who is handling the sale for Christie & Co, said: “Both The Angel and The Anchor are established and well invested businesses which enjoy strong local reputations for quality food with huge potential to further develop the revenue streams. These highly successful venues are perfect for first time independent buyers looking to immerse themselves in rural Suffolk life in the heart of Constable country, or existing operators looking to make a quality addition to their portfolio.”
The parent company of the family-run Suffolk Country Inns, Porthmeor Holdings limited, has a sister company, the Sail Lofts, which provides luxury accommodation in St Ives. Porthmeor, which has Richard Clark named as its director, made a net profit of £92,066 in the year ending January 2017.