Country pub faces closure threat

A COUNTRY pub which was rescued by a small independent brewery nearly ten years ago is now suffering "substantial losses" and is set to close - at least until a new owner can be found.

By David Green

A COUNTRY pub which was rescued by a small independent brewery nearly ten years ago is now suffering "substantial losses" and is set to close - at least until a new owner can be found.

But villagers fear that an attempt may be made to convert the pub, the De La Pole Arms at Wingfield, near Eye, into a house.

The pub had been closed for some time and was semi-derelict when St Peters Brewery, based in the "saints" area near Halesworth, bought the property in 1995.


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The company spent a small fortune refurbishing the building to a high standard and creating a restaurant which has since won plaudits for its food.

However, St Peters decided last year that it wanted to dispose of the pub because it was a distraction from its core business of brewing beer for the UK supermarkets and export trade.

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The property has been on the market for some months but a buyer has yet to be found.

Now a letter has been circulated in the village, signed by the brewery's managing director, Colin Cordy, announcing the pub will be closed from July 4.

"We are continuing to market the property as a country pub and restaurant but the dedication required to make a success of such an operation obviously deters many people.

"An option is to de-licence the pub and turn it into a home and we have had prospective purchasers which we have hitherto not pursued.

"However, our trading at the De La Pole Arms in recent months is at a substantial loss and we do not wish such losses to continue indefinitely. We are, accordingly, closing the De La Pole Arms from Sunday, 4th of July," Mr Cordy said in his letter.

Mary Gurton, parish council clerk, said: "The whole village is concerned that this is happening."

She said a solution to the problem would not be easy to find but local people hoped the pub would survive.

Dawn Smith, a parish councillor, said it was a pity the brewery had not come to the community and asked what it wanted of the pub, the only one in the village.

"A questionnaire circulated to villagers may have drawn their commitment," she said.

Mr Cordy said local people had known for a long time that the pub was on the market and could have put ideas to the tenants or managers.

"We have rung the changes to try to get regular drinkers back in the pub and to offer people a variety of food. The last thing we want is for the property to be converted into a house and we will do our best to sell it as a pub," he added.

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