'We want pub to thrive', says owner

THE owners of a village pub stressed yesterday they had no plans to turn the 18th Century listed building into a home.Hys Olink and Linda Wilson bought The Ship, Blaxhall, near Woodbridge, in 2001 and they said their business was thriving and they planned to increase trade.

By Richard Smith

THE owners of a village pub stressed yesterday they had no plans to turn the 18th Century listed building into a home.

Hys Olink and Linda Wilson bought The Ship, Blaxhall, near Woodbridge, in 2001 and they said their business was thriving and they planned to increase trade.

Concern was raised in the village when a planning application was submitted to Suffolk Coastal District Council to reduce the size of the pub and create a bed and breakfast room. The plan is also to install a toilet for people with disabilities and a separate non-smoking dining or function room.


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Blaxhall Parish Council held a meeting last week attended by more than a third of the villagers to consider the plan. There was widespread criticism among residents about the loss of part of the pub and the council objected to the proposals.

Ms Wilson said yesterday they would have attended the meeting if they had been invited. ''We applaud the villagers of Blaxhall for their zeal and care for the future of The Ship Inn. They are right to be concerned – in the last year three pubs in villages within a few miles from here have applied for closure.

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''However, our business at The Ship continues to thrive – thanks to CAMRA aficionados and all those who love our quality home cooked food. We can categorically state that we have no plans to apply for permission to convert The Ship into a dwelling. On the contrary, our planning applications seek to expand our business,'' she said.

Protestors have made comments about the pub's managerial style, the decision to ban some drinkers and the low number of opening hours.

Ms Wilson said: ''Hys' management style is popular enough with all those of our many customers who do support The Ship. We have on occasion declined to serve people whose behaviour is unacceptable, or likely to put us in breach of our licence.

''The Ship Inn is open every day of the week except Monday and Tuesday as always. The Ship Inn is a business and as with any other its future will depend on market forces.''

She added that the couple were happy in Blaxhall and planned to stay in the village for many years.

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