Pub ravaged by fire to be revamped into 'unique social hub' after £1m grant
- Credit: Su Anderson
A Wickham Market pub that was left scorched by a fire eight years ago has received a grant of almost £1million to restore it into a "unique social hub".
The George, the last remaining pub in the east Suffolk village, has remained closed since it was ravaged by a fire on April 18, 2013.
Villagers have been attempting to revamp the High Street pub, which is about 500 years old, with a community benefit society having more than 300 shareholders.
The effort has now been boosted by a National Lottery Heritage Fund Heritage Enterprise grant of £988,200.
East Suffolk Council gave the scheme the green light back in June this year, with the total cost for the revamp expected to be close to £1.5m.
Developers are aiming to revamp the George as a community hub to tackle isolation and loneliness, with a pub and restaurant on the ground floor.
The project will also bring previously unavailable parts of the building into public use for the first time, with the upper floors being converted into community rooms.
A spokesman from the George Management Committee said: "This fantastic award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has now made this project possible.
- 1 £1.5million project set to turn north Essex towns into giant gaming areas
- 2 School apologises for GCSE paper error as it falls to inadequate
- 3 Man identified after dog walker threatened in Sudbury
- 4 Andy Warren: Why keeping Sam Morsy is vital for Ipswich Town
- 5 Man caught drink driving over three times the legal limit in Suffolk town
- 6 Suffolk campsite named among the best in the UK by the Guardian
- 7 Weather warning for Suffolk as thunderstorms expected to affect travel
- 8 Suffolk celebrates! Full list of county's 185 street parties for the Queen's jubilee
- 9 'It makes you want to cry' - anger as bench dumped in pond at country park
- 10 Plans for 115 homes in village gets backing to move forward
"We are so grateful to the many shareholders and supporters who believed and invested in this project and particular thanks go to National Lottery players everywhere.
"Wickham Market has everything apart from a village pub. That has just changed and the George Community Pub will be far more than a pub, it will become a unique social hub and, in the process, an important piece of Suffolk heritage will be saved."
Anne Jenkins, director of Midlands & East at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: "Investing in heritage means investing in the community it belongs to, which is why we are so pleased to support the George Community Pub in Wickham Market.
"Not only will this grant conserve and restore this historic building, it will also help regenerate the local economy, ensuring that this heritage is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike."