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East Anglia Future 50

What's next for Butley's Oyster Inn? Owners speak over closure fears

PUBLISHED: 19:30 15 May 2019

Owner of the The Butley Oyster Judi Newman said work was going on behind the scenes to ensure the pub's future Picture: GREGG BROWN

Owner of the The Butley Oyster Judi Newman said work was going on behind the scenes to ensure the pub's future Picture: GREGG BROWN

Talks are underway that would see one of Suffolk's best known pubs taken over by its community.

The Oyster Inn has closed its doors Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Oyster Inn has closed its doors Picture: GREGG BROWN

An announcement was made on May 12 that the Oyster Inn in Butley would be closed for the foreseeable future.

The closure came as surprise to villagers who were left concerned about future plans for the site.

It's only two years since the pub re-opened following an extensive refurbishment which was required after a previous four-year long closure.

Judi Newman, one of the pub's current owners, said she had been approached by villagers who were keen to take on the establishment.

"We view this as a gap rather than a closure," said Mrs Newman.

"The village are keen to have it as a community owned pub."

The pub had been looking to take on new staff shortly before it closed its doors.

Mrs Newman said they were keen to be mindful of the situation and didn't want to hire new people if there was going to be uncertainty over future ownership.

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"The plan has always been about keeping the pub open," said Mrs Newman.

"We are really happy that we have been able to do the renovation and that we have run it for two years.

"The most important thing is that its still in the heart of the village."

As well as serving as the local watering hole the Oyster Inn had begun to undertake a number of other roles in the community - it opened its own microbrewery, community cinema and last year became home to the Butley Village Store.

One Butley resident said: "It is so sad to see The Oyster close.

"We had many enjoyable evenings there with friends, even making new friends. Sitting in the lovely garden in summer time had become a regular meeting place for the locals as well as those from further away.

"In winter we enjoyed cosy evenings including quiz nights, foodie nights and popular Karaoke and of course the folk group played once a month continuing the tradition of many years ago.

"We will all miss it."

A community meeting has been organised for Tuesday, May 21, by a group of residents to consider potential plans for the site.

The meeting will take place at Butley Village Hall from 7.30pm.

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