'It came out of the blue' - Who will save this dormant Suffolk pub?
PUBLISHED: 13:45 01 August 2019
A once-thriving Suffolk pub has been left gathering dust for months as the hunt for a new owner rumbles on.
At the end of March, holding company Stuart Inns Ltd collapsed under a mountain of debt.
And overnight three of Suffolk's best loved gastro-pubs were forced to shut down.
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The Hadleigh Ram, The Lavenham Greyhound and The Long Melford Swan all closed with immediate effect.
For The Greyhound, salvation was almost instantaneous and it was transformed into a tapas restaurant by Stock & Bailey less than a week after closing.
The Swan followed suit and a month later was taken over by service giant Atalian Servest.
However, more than four months on, the question still remains - who will save The Hadleigh Ram?
The buildings which house the three pubs are owned by Greene King, which is hopeful a deal will be struck in the near future.
A spokesman for the Bury St Edmunds brewery said: "We have been contacted by a number of parties interested in running The Hadleigh Ram.
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"Our conversations with them are ongoing and we hope to have the pub back open for the town as soon as possible."
The pub, in Market Place, had cultivated a strong reputation during its time in the town and has a predicted annual turnover of around £500,000.
Sean Garnham, chairman of the Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce, explained the people of Hadleigh were keen to find new tenants to move into the pub.
"Naturally the fact that it closed was disappointing', he said, "but it couldn't be helped under the circumstances.
"It came out of the blue from an outsider's perspective, it all happened very quickly as these things often do.
"But it's difficult to know if it is having a tangible effect on the town."
Mr Garnham also heads up the Wool Town Association (WTA) which covers Hadleigh, Clare, Sudbury, Lavenham and Long Melford.
He added: "With the whole economic network across this area we are all in this together.
"We are only as strong as the whole - from that perspective any broken link is something we need to repair as soon as possible.