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New cookery enterprise aims to transform Suffolk coaching inn's fortunes

PUBLISHED: 19:00 19 January 2020

The Three Tuns Coaching House and Inn in Pettistree Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Three Tuns Coaching House and Inn in Pettistree Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Suffolk pub is set to be expanded to house a cookery school community project teaching people how to grow and get the best from their food.

Faye Meakin and Bilyana Dawson outside the Three Tuns 
Picture: DAVID VINCENTFaye Meakin and Bilyana Dawson outside the Three Tuns Picture: DAVID VINCENT

The scheme at the Three Tuns in Pettistree will focus on plant-based foods and add to activities already taking place at the venue.

Vida Haus moved into the former coaching inn last year with a vision to turn around the fortunes of the pub, which stands on Main Road outside the village and has been struggling since the A12 Wickham Market bypass opened in 1976.

KLH Architects Ltd, for the owners, said throughout the 20th century the pub had traded successfully relying on passing trade.

"The opening of the Wickham Market by-pass in 1976 changed everything; the Tuns saw a massive decline in its tradional trade and it has been struggling to survive ever since," said the architects in documents submitted to East Suffolk Council.

The main part of the Three Tuns pub in Pettistree has been turned into a dance, fitness and yoga wellbeing centre by Faye Meakin and Bilyana Dawson 
Picture: DAVID VINCENTThe main part of the Three Tuns pub in Pettistree has been turned into a dance, fitness and yoga wellbeing centre by Faye Meakin and Bilyana Dawson Picture: DAVID VINCENT

"There have been repeated attempts at revivals, with the addition of letting rooms, and a greater concentration on creating a venue through an emphasis on food and providing function space for larger parties, but the isolated location and larger scale of the premises necessitate attracting relatively large numbers of customers from more than the immediate local area. This is a very difficult market in which to operate and success demands the creation of an extra-special or distinctive offer."

Bilyana Dawson of Vida Haus has applied to the council for the construction of a new building to house a teaching kitchen and associated dining and service areas. Land next to the property would be used for a kitchen garden, meadow and orchard in connection with the new venture.

Vida Haus has refurbished the pub's letting rooms to a high standard, with the former restaurant area reconfigured to a multi-use function space, and the bar and kitchen areas reorganised.

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The large dining area was deemed unsustainable and food provision in the new enterprise is a lower key affair with a plant-based menu, while the multi-use space allows for dining to expand and contract as demand changes throughout the day and year.

Vida Haus also offers classes and therapies including a yoga and dance studio and a plant-based cafe attracting a growing client list of regulars from the local community and beyond, elderly, new mums and dads, children and so on.

The plans submitted to the council envisage expansion that would include a progressive and welcoming canteen, kitchen and cookery school to enable Vida Haus to broaden its concept to create a proactive education in food, relaxation and a renewable and sustainable lifestyle.

Utilising produce grown on site, people would be taught how to pickle, preserve and cook with minimal waste, and also grow the best plants for cooking to suit the busy lifestyles of the modern family.

KLH Architects said: "In this way Vida Haus envisages becoming an integral and vital part of the growing community - increasing awareness and mindfulness of the amazing surroundings that local people are fortunate to live amongst. Vida Haus would be breaking down barriers, creating great living food within an enjoyable and sustainable environment."

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