Community comes together in an effort to save a Norfolk pub
PUBLISHED: 11:42 25 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 25 March 2018
Dozens of people from a small Norfolk village have come together in an effort to save their local pub which closed on Saturday.
The landlords of the Peddars Inn, in Sporle, announced the closure of the pub at the beginning of the March and villagers were dismayed at the thought of not only losing the pub but a place that has become a hub for their community.
There were some attempts to negotiate a new lease on the property but the landowner, based in Kent, decided to put the property on the market.
Villagers expressed concerns in writing to Norfolk county councillor Ed Colman and Breckland councillor Peter Wilkinson, and between them a plan came together for listing the pub as a community asset.
They held a public meeting on March 14 to discuss the proposals, which would help to protect the building from a change of use and mean that it would be owned by the community.
“We were overwhelmed by how many people turned up to the meeting,” said Mr Colman.
“I was expecting 20 or 30, not almost 100. Peter and I informed the meeting what a community asset is and those present decided to proceed by starting a committee to apply to Breckland District Council and have the building listed as a community asset.
“This is a two step process. Step one is to list the building as a community asset and then step two is to consider the options for reopening the pub.”
Mr Wilkinson said that the move does not mean a sale will not go ahead but it is a first step.
“We needed at least 21 signatures to support the application to make it a community asset, we got that and it is now going through the process at Breckland,” he said.
“If we can get this done fairly quickly it could hold up the sale until something it sorted.”
Taking the lead on the effort to save the pub is Sporle resident Kirsty Ward.
“She is someone who has only recently moved to the village, just days ago and she put herself forward to chair this. Peter and I are now working with her through the process,” added Mr Colman.
“Pubs are vital for our rural villages and I am delighted the village have rallied round, showing Dunkirk spirit to save their local pub.”
The landlords of the pub were contacted for comment.