Washbrook/Copdock: Communities unite to save The Brook Inn - their last remaining pub

Keith Armes, George Wiseman, Ian Evans, Alan Amphlett Lewis and Simon Bissett, some of the local res

Keith Armes, George Wiseman, Ian Evans, Alan Amphlett Lewis and Simon Bissett, some of the local residents of Copdock and Washbrook who are campagining to save The Washbrook Inn

PEOPLE in two neighbouring Suffolk villages have joined forces in a bid to save their last remaining pub from closing for good.

The current tenants at The Brook Inn in Washbrook, near Ipswich, are leaving in the summer and the pub has been put up for sale.

Owners Punch Taverns have given the inn a £325,000 asking price but villagers are aiming to raise enough cash to purchase it as part of a community enterprise.

Pubs such as The Sorrel Horse in Shottisham and The Punch Bowl in Battisford – which are both run by committed village groups – are being used as examples of how the community can rally together to save their assets.

Campaigners in Washbrook and nearby Copdock, which share a parish council as well as the last remaining pub, arranged a public meeting last week to try to build support and an impressive 80 people turned out.

During the meeting a steering committee was formed which is now investigating the mechanics of a community-led purchase.

Chairman of the committee Simon Bissett said: “According to CAMRA, 18 pubs a week are closing across the country and we don’t want The Brook Inn to add to that depressing statistic.

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“It was encouraging to see so many residents and regulars come to the meeting and show an interest in securing a future for the pub.

“What we need now is support and expertise so if anyone can offer expert advice please do get in touch. If other places like The Sorrel Horse in Shottisham can do it – why can’t we?”

Tom Nichols, at commercial property agent Everard Cole, which is marketing the pub, said they had shown numerous interested parties round the business but had not received any firm offers to date.

The chairman of Copdock and Washbrook Parish Council, Keith Armes, added: “If someone does buy it and The Brook Inn continues as a pub, that would be fantastic.

“But the worry for us is that no-one buys it and the pub eventually closes, which would be very sad.

“We don’t have a shop any more other than the petrol station so the pub is the hub of the community. It holds coffee mornings, charity events and serves great food and has become an integral part of village life so it’s important its future is secured.”

Anyone wishing to support the committee or offer their expertise can contact Mr Bissett on simbis@sky.com