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Community battling to save pub after seven years of closure

PUBLISHED: 19:00 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:28 22 September 2019

Ellie Hopkins outside the Admiral's Head pub in Little Bealings. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Ellie Hopkins outside the Admiral's Head pub in Little Bealings. PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

RACHEL EDGE

A Suffolk pub which has been closed for over seven years could be re-opened by the community.

The Admiral's Head pub in Little Bealings closed its doors in 2012 with the building remaining empty ever since.

During the intervening time the building has been listed as an asset of community value, meaning that it is seen to have a social importance in the local community.

As such when the pub went up for sale in May, the community had the right to express an interest in bidding for the pub. It then has six months to put a bid together, including a business case for the running of the pub.

However, at the end of this time - November 23 in the case of the Admiral's Head - the owners have no obligation to accept the bid presented by the community.

A group known as the Friends of the Admiral's Head has been put together to co-ordinate the bid for the pub and sell shares to help fund the purchase.

"The number of pubs that are closing is astounding," said Ellie Hopkins, member of the Friends of The Admiral's Head group.

"I grew up here. I have memories of the village coming together for events.

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"We have lost that heart of the village."

Mrs Hopkins said that so many local villages no longer had an asset to their name and so it was important that Little Bealings was able to keep the pub.

The group hope to offer food at the revived restaurant as well as events for local residents.

They also hope that the pub will be able to act as community hub for older residents living in the area by helping to reduce social isolation.

An application was made last year to change the building into housing, but it was refused by the-then Suffolk Coastal District Council.

Planning officers disagreed with an assessment that the site was no longer financially viable as a pub, as the business had not been put up for sale since its closure.

"There was a huge number of objections to the change of use," said Mrs Hopkins.

The group will now be hosting a meeting on October 10 at Bealings Village Hall where those interested in buying a share in the pub will be able to find out more about the group's plans.

Drop in sessions will be taking place between 6.45pm and 7.15pm and 7.45pm and 8.15pm.

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