A prominent A140 pub is up for sale - with a price tag of around £300k for the freehold.

The Grade II Listed Magpie pub at Little Stonham, near Stowmarket, occupies a landmark position on the Norwich road. Efforts are ongoing to get an historic pub sign over the road reinstated.

The pub closed about two weeks ago - to the surprise of villagers. They are hoping it will reopen soon under new ownership.

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Meanwhile pub landlady Vaida Lapene - who is originally from Lithuania - has moved to the Crowfield Rose.

The parish council gained ownership of the much-missed gantry pub sign - which was toppled in 2021 in a hit-and-run incident - a month ago after a protracted legal process.

The pub's owner - Joe Bahar of Needham Market - died in April 2020 during the first Covid outbreak.

"It got very complicated," explained Stonham Parva Parish Council vice chairman Ivan Richardson.

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The parish council - which meets tonight (Monday, May 20) - is preparing to submit a planning application with Mid Suffolk District Council so that it can put the sign back up.

Penn Commercial - which is acting as agents for the pub sale - is simultaneously marketing a two-acre (0.84ha) site to the rear of pub which has planning consent for 16 holiday lodges. It comes with a price tag of £950k for the freehold. 

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The 5,000sq ft pub premises dates back to the 15th century, with additions from the 16th and 19th centuries.

It includes a bar and 26-cover restaurant, a games room, seven bedrooms and a manager's flat and a rear courtyard beer garden, car park and pond. 

The site offered a possible development opportunity subject to planning permission, said Penn.

Penn Commercial’s Rachael Jackson said: “This historic public house, conveniently located on the main arterial road between Ipswich and Norwich, presents an attractive opportunity for a like-for-like use, or for redevelopment as a restaurant or boutique hotel.

"With a high volume of passing trade, significant on-site car parking and excellent connectivity, we are expecting this property to prove extremely popular.”

Meanwhile Mr Richardson said the parish council had overcome a major hurdle by becoming owners of the sign - but still faced a few more challenges.

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Villagers will need to raise around £30k to £40k to get the sign reinstated - and require permission from the highways department to close the road to enable the work to take place.

So far, the council has raised a total of around £6k toward the works, but now it has assumed ownership it can apply for grant aid.

The repaired sign will include the traditional magpie but the gantry itself will be wider by about 1m either side of the road and higher in order to enable larger loads to make it through.

Even at that, it has been designed so it can be lifted off when abnormally large loads such as deliveries of structures to Sizewell C or for wind farms need to get through.

The parish council has the backing of both county and district councillors, said Mr Richardson, and was "very optimistic" about the project and hopes it might be completed by the end of the year.

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"It was all on hold up until we got ownership because we couldn't really move forward - we couldn't actively ask for big grants," he said.

The pub is seen as vital for village life. "We would love it to reopen again - it's the only thing left in the village now," he said.

"We have got no shops, we have got no other facilities, so it's the meeting place for people."

"We hope it's going to be purchased and can carry on. It's the only communal facility in the village so it's important it does reopen."

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Villager Alan Ridealgh - who runs Humber Doucy Brewery with son John - has been actively involved in fundraising for the sign.

"I don't think that building can be used for anything else but a pub, so hopefully it will become a pub again quite soon," he said. 

It is thought the road might need to close for up to four days because of the technicalities involved in re-installing the sign.