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Village pub saved as new owners found despite community raising more than £100,000

PUBLISHED: 14:14 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:14 23 April 2019

The Crown Inn in Northwold. Picture: Marc Betts

The Crown Inn in Northwold. Picture: Marc Betts

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A Norfolk pub has been saved from closure after new buyers were found, despite community efforts to purchase it nearing completion.

The Crown Inn will be redecorated before opening. Picture: Marc BettsThe Crown Inn will be redecorated before opening. Picture: Marc Betts

A community drive to save The Crown Inn, in Northwold, had already raised more than £100,000 to purchase the freehouse at a price of £275,000, before new owners David and Janice Walton's bid was accepted.

Those who donated to the crowdfunder have been told they will be refunded their investment.

Cliff Anderson, acting chair of Save The Crown Inn, has lived in the village for 10 years. He said: “The pub has been on the market for five years but there had been little interest so it came as a surprise when a buyer was found.

“We have met the new owners and they have been very supportive. They want to make a success out of the pub and it will be great to have our local pub back.”

The pub has been closed for almost two years. Picture: Marc BettsThe pub has been closed for almost two years. Picture: Marc Betts

The fundraising started in September 2017 when villagers discovered the business might close. Within weeks they had raised £50,000 towards the cost of the pub.

Now, the Save The Crown Inn group has £105,000 in community shares and was offered a grant of £100,000, with plans to fund the rest through a mortgage.

But Mr and Mrs Walton, who own Wayland Executive Cars and Taxis in Watton, made another bid which was accepted.

Mrs Walton said: “We have always wanted to own a pub, it may look a little rough now but with some decorating and nice touches it will be amazing.”

The Crown Inn will be redecorated before opening. Picture: Marc BettsThe Crown Inn will be redecorated before opening. Picture: Marc Betts

And with the group no longer buying the pub Mr Anderson, 66, said it would be closed down.

The retired teacher said: “We will now start to close the society down and we are making the right preparations for that.

“The money that we have raised through the share scheme will be reimbursed to those who bought them. Any money that is left over will be donated to an organisation in the village which everyone can benefit from.

“We did not withdraw the grant or a mortgage so they will remain unchanged.”

The Crown Inn will be redecorated before opening. Picture: Marc BettsThe Crown Inn will be redecorated before opening. Picture: Marc Betts

Last year the parish council successfully applied to have the pub registered as a community asset - which gave villagers six months to raise the money to buy it.

Negotiations with its owners began, with various offers turned down until a £275,000 price was accepted.

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