Suffolk: Troubling trend of village pub closures

SUFFOLK has lost nearly 700 pubs with the rate of closures soaring in the last two decades, new figures reveal.

The downward trend has affected more than 100 county communities according to the Lost Pubs Project, with dozens becoming so-called “dry parishes”.

The latest casualty is likely to be The Admirals Head in Little Bealings near Woodbridge who will call time for the final occasion next Friday.

Yet Suffolk boasts several uplifting accounts of communities banding together to buck the trend - examples include the Punch Bowl Inn at Battisford, near Stowmarket, and the Sorrel Horse in Shottisham, near Woodbridge.

And this week a potential buyer came forward for The Crown in Great Glemham, near Framlingham, which has been closed since August last year.

Yet with countrywide closures now averaging a dozen a week - and Suffolk among the areas to have lost the most pubs in the past eight months - the message is clear: “Use it, or lose it”.

Rosario and Jazmine D’Angelo have been in charge of The Admirals Head for more than eight years.

Most Read

They refurbished the Sandy Lane pub 18 months ago - but despite making adjustments and offering a menu of traditional and modern Italian food, the couple have since been forced to cease trading.

Part of the reason, Mrs D’Angelo said, was the cost incurred by an issue with the pub’s drainage system following nearby development. An appeal to Suffolk County Council for connection to the mains drainage at the local school was deemed too costly and uncertain.

Mrs D’Angelo said: “It is with great sadness that after eight-and-a-half years of ownership of The Admirals Head we have been forced to close the business.

“We have been an employer of many local talented staff, who have been a great asset to our business. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported us since we have been here and look forward to still being part of the community in the future.”

The building will remain home for Mr and Mrs D’Angelo and their children but will stop trading as a pub as of next Friday, July 20.

A dozen Suffolk pubs shut in the six months between September and March, leading pub campaigners to warn that more locals would face closure without widespread support from communities and Government.

Jon Howard, spokesman for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “We have seen from research that suburban and rural pubs are being hardest hit.

“Our latest figures show that, on average, 12 pubs are closing each week across the country. But we are seeing quite a few examples of co-operative enterprises succeeding and we welcome that trend.

“It’s the old adage of ‘use it or lose it’. We encourage people to support publicans by using their local pubs - whether it be popping in for a pint or holding events and group meetings.”