Video: Villagers unite in bid to save historic Cretingham Bell pub

Local villagers are proposing to club together and restore The Cretingham Bell to it's former glory.

Local villagers are proposing to club together and restore The Cretingham Bell to it's former glory. L-R Shasha Toptani, Don Young, Neil Jackson, Gilbert Sills. - Credit: Archant

A small village in east Suffolk is rallying behind plans for the community to revive its recently closed local pub with a takeover bid.

Regulars at the recently shut Cretingham Bell are keen to lift the village’s spirts by re-opening the pub, which has been a village fixture since 1967.

Donal Young, an active member behind the proposals, says the mood in Cretingham has been “grim” since the pub closed its doors nearly a fortnight ago but believes a new approach could revive its prospects.

“I think it could be a pub of some renown,” he said. “We believe the only thing that will work is to have it run with a local presence from the heart of the village.”

A recent meeting to devise the best rescue strategy for the 16th Century Grade II-listed building led to a small group of potential investors agreeing to consider purchasing it on behalf of the community.

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If practical, Mr Young says they aim to restore its “rustic charm” to make the most of the “beautiful building”.

The group is also keen to ensure the pub offers high-quality food of a “distinguished” nature, as it has in the past, while hosting occasional events, such as the previously popular jazz evenings.

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“The key thing is that the village must be involved,” said Mr Young, “And what the village wants is a nice pub serving good pub grub where people can get together and talk with their friends.”

The retired company director says The Bell has played a pivotal role in village life throughout its history but had struggled over recent years. He hopes the possible investment will mark a return to the pub’s heyday of the 1960s and 70s when it was a social hub for the village and beyond.

The prospective investors will inspect the premises with a professional contractor in the coming fortnight to determine the likely costs involved.

“Nothing is decided, it’s all up in the air, but there’s a strong intention in the village and a few people with a little bit of money to try to save the pub,” said Mr Young.

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