Stalemate over campaign to revive Norfolk pub

PUBLISHED: 13:03 28 February 2013 | UPDATED: 14:32 28 February 2013

Fox Inn at Garboldisham

Fox Inn at Garboldisham

©Archant Photographic 2009

Frustrated campaigners say they have reached a stalement with a pub company in their attempts to revive a derelict Norfolk village inn.

Garboldisham villagers were hoping to buy the Fox Inn, by the A1066, off owners Wellington Pub Company, but the firm would not sell despite campaigners making a number of offers and since then little progress has been made and the boarded-up Grade II listed 18th century pub remains in a dilapidated state.

Breckland district councillor William Nunn, who is supporting the initiative, said an historic buildings officer at the district council had been in touch with the pub company about the state of the building and some internal repairs had been carried out, along with work to the roof.

However, he added: “Unless we can convince the pub company to sell it at a reasonable price, it feels like a stalemate.”

Trevor Lunnon, a property manager with Criterion Asset Management, which is working for the pub company, said the company’s preferred option was to lease the building rather than sell it, with the aim to reopen it as a pub.

He added: “If a tenant or property company comes forward with a leasehold proposal then we would be prepared to talk to them.”

In December 2010, the villagers launched a campaign to buy the building and reopen it as a community pub and a committee was set up to create a business plan.

However, the owners turned down the committee’s offers for the pub, although there have been applications to convert the dilapidated building, most notably by Wellesley Capital Investment which wanted to build three houses but the plans were refused by Breckland Council.

One option is for Breckland Council to take out a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to buy the land, without the consent of the owner, to improve the site.

The villagers, who are also supported by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, fear losing a “vital amenity” in a visible location next to the busy A1066 single carriageway.

They fear the pub is an eyesore which is affecting house prices in the village.

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