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Laxfield pub lovers group together to buy back treasured King’s Head pub for the community

PUBLISHED: 11:12 26 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:17 26 February 2018

A group of residents have teamed up to buy the King's Head pub in Laxfield. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A group of residents have teamed up to buy the King's Head pub in Laxfield. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A group of regulars have tapped into their own resources with a pledge to save one of Suffolk’s oldest and quirkiest pubs.

Inside the cellar tap room at The King's Head,  Laxfield, back in 2013. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGEInside the cellar tap room at The King's Head, Laxfield, back in 2013. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Eight of the pub’s regulars decided to draw their funds together when Southwold brewery Adnams announced it would be selling the 16th Century King’s Head, also known as The Low House, in Laxfield.

The group has formed its own business which is “deep into negotiations” with Adnams to buy the pub back for the community.

The King’s Head is one of Suffolk’s quirkiest pubs, with no bar, and beer still served directly from the barrel.

It is nicknamed The Low House due to its geographic location, situated directly below the neighbouring church and historic heart of the village.

The tap room. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGEThe tap room. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

The next step for the group working to save it is to apply for Community Interest Company (CIC) status, which would make it easier for the group to strike a deal with the brewery.

Fortunately, the company has the backing of the parish council, which last year sought to protect the ancient hostelry by having it declared an asset of community value.

In order to speed the process along, the council has expressed an interest in purchasing the pub on behalf of the community.

This will give the group the opportunity to make their application for the special status without corporate competitors closing a deal with Adnams in the meantime.

Unchanged for decades - the settle at The King's Head. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGEUnchanged for decades - the settle at The King's Head. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Community Interest Companies must prove that they exist to benefit the community rather than private shareholders. If successful in their application, they will have different rights to ordinary limited companies when it comes to the sale of assets of community value.

In this case, if approved as a CIC, the community group will have priority in negotations with Adnams for six months – while they work to gather funds.

A spokesperson for Adnams said: “We are talking to a group from the Laxfield community, who has expressed an interest in buying the King’s Head pub. We understand that they are in the process of establishing a Community Interest Company and want to keep the ‘Low House’ as a vibrant community pub.”

Parish clerk Nick Woodhead added: “There’s still plenty for them to do of course, but there are real grounds for optimism. The glass is definitely half full.”

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