Save the Blue Bell group set up to prevent loss of village pub
PUBLISHED: 16:03 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:10 17 February 2020
A group has been set up and a second open meeting will be held to discuss ways of saving a west Norfolk village’s only pub.
Villagers in Stoke Ferry have been discussing options to save the Blue Bell Inn after it closed in March 2018 as a result of poor trading.
A planning application to change the use of the pub into private housing was rejected by west Norfolk council last year and some residents are keen to see the hostelry remain a community facility.
An open meeting attended by more than 50 people was held last month to discuss what could be done to save the pub and a second open meeting will be held at Stoke Ferry Village Hall at 7pm on Wednesday, February 19 to hear from any interested parties or individuals wanting to run it.
Following last month's meeting a group of residents set up a working group called 'Save the Blue Bell' to campaign against its loss.
The group, which called the second meeting, are calling on the community to "come forward and assist in the important work to save the Blue Bell."
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Stephen Ward, one of its members, said: "A small group formed to lead the fight to save the Blue Bell as a community hub and to raise funds necessary to buy the building and operate it as a licenced community venue that is inclusive, alive and warmly welcoming."
Stoke Ferry Parish Council has reapplied to list the pub as an asset of community value and a decision is expected in March.
Mr Ward added: "Upon the application being successful, Stoke Ferry residents and supporters will have just six months, until the end of August, to prepare and submit a bid to buy the pub."
Jim McNeill, who lives in the village, said: "Stoke Ferry is set to grow a lot in the next few years.
"We need a community pub in the village that is genuinely open to both newcomers and existing residents and will, I hope, inspire and accommodate other community activities and initiatives.
"A business plan is needed and money to be pledged over the next few months, so it really is a case of all hands to the beer pump to save and re-energise our Blue Bell pub."
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