Suffolk: Communities rally to keep their pubs open

COMMUNITIES across Suffolk are striving to rescue their local pubs from an uncertain fate.

This week, a potential buyer came forward to save to save The Crown in Great Glemham, near Framlingham, which has been closed since August last year and is currently in the hands of a property investment and private equity firm.

Negotiations are ongoing between Bridport Capital Limited, which wants to convert it into holiday cottages, and pub-goer Thane Meldrum and his partner Emma Harrington, from near Bungay, who have expressed their interest in purchasing it.

Elsewhere, in Battisford, near Stowmarket, villagers last year helped reopen the Punch Bowl Inn following its closure in 2009. The pub is now being leased by a community interest company after locals carried out essential repairs and decorations to the building.

The Punch Bowl serves home-cooked food sourced from local suppliers and producers.

Similarly, the Sorrel Horse in Shottisham, near Woodbridge, was saved after people bought shares in the business to drum up the money required to buy the pub’s freehold.

Tony Pinfold, who is on the board of directors of Sorrel Horse Shottisham Limited, said the venture had exceeded expectations, adding: “One of the key reasons for its success is that we set it up as a commercial enterprise. Of course there was a great deal of altruism involved but it works because we can offer people a return. It’s thanks to the huge amount of support from the village, and the hard work of people involved.

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“Little Bealings is a nice village and it’s a great shame the local pub is closing.”

More recently, a ‘community benefit society’, Friends of the Three Horseshoes (FROTH), has set out to buy and reopen their local pub in Charsfield after its closure last May.