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Village could lose its only pub after no interest from landlords

PUBLISHED: 14:37 20 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:46 21 October 2019

The Blue Bell pub in Stoke Ferry could become a home. Picture: Google

The Blue Bell pub in Stoke Ferry could become a home. Picture: Google

Archant

A village could lose its pub for good after a planning application was lodged to turn it into housing.

The Blue Bell pub in Stoke Ferry could become a home. Picture: GoogleThe Blue Bell pub in Stoke Ferry could become a home. Picture: Google

Stoke Ferry, near Wretton, had been served by The Bluebell for more than 100 years but it closed in March 2018 after poor trading.

Attempts have been made by previous owners to re-lease the business to a new landlord but this failed. In May this year it was listed an asset of community value by the parish council, but following a six-week period no groups in the community came forward to run it.

In the 11 months since it was listed to rent, one party put in an offer but this was to turn it into a home.

It was bought in July by new owner James Collins, with a tenant lined up to take over the pub but this fell through.

The Bluebell was advertised further but "there has been very little interest and no firm offers", planning papers say.

The documents, submitted to the Borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council, said: "There continues to be an extensive marketing campaign to lease or sell the property as a pub but unfortunately without success.

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"Alternative commercial uses have been investigated but none seem suitable."

Jeff Hoyle, of CAMRA west Norfolk, said villages across the county were losing pubs.

The 63-year-old said: "It may be that Stoke Ferry only has 1,000 residents but the pub may have been a place that people travelled to for communities that don't have their own.

"I go to other parts of the country and there are still villages that have two or three pubs but in Norfolk we are seeing more with one, or even none.

"Looking at other pubs in the county in north Norfolk there are very few traditional pubs left with many becoming gastro pubs.

"It can be very hard to make a living off selling drinks so they have to serve food.

"What's happening is a lot of traditional pubs are closing in these areas and they are not only losing the pub but also the character and spirit."

The Bluebell will continue to be advertised during the application process.

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