Bid to reopen historic Brisley inn

The Brisley Bell

The Brisley Bell

A major renovation project could see a 300-year-old inn reopened with a new restaurant overlooking a picturesque village green.

Amelia Nicholson and Marcus Seaman from Mileham have applied to Breckland Council to redevelop The Bell Inn at Brisley, near Dereham, which has been closed for the past 18 months, with a new extension and facilities.

The application reveals how the couple wish to concentrate on the restaurant side of the inn, and the new extension will 'provide the facilities to make the inn viable as a business'.

The main restaurant would be close to the bar/snug circulation area, and there would also be a further family restaurant opening out to the garden area to incorporate an old two-storey store building.

The plans state: 'Country pubs and inns are facing difficult times, and the Brisley Bell needs to exploit its special character and location. Being somewhat isolated gives it a special appeal with lovely southern views across the Green.'

They have also discovered there are records of this inn dating back to the early 1700s.

The Athow family occupied Brisley Hall and John Athow was innkeeper in 1706, William Athow in 1845.

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Brisley Green is an area of registered common land, given to the parish by the late Canon Dodson in 1993. At 58.64 hectare it is one of the largest privately owned lowland grazing commons.

It adds: 'The Bell Inn ceased trading in 2014, and the new plans to reopen have been met with much support from locals, especially folk from Brisley village. On Christmas Eve 2015 over 200 people gathered at the Inn to look at the proposals and give the applicants their good wishes.'

One Brisley resident has already written to Breckland Council to support the application.

Her letter states: 'The local pub has been missed since it closed sometime ago, it is great to see a couple prepared to invest both time and money in an attempt to bring it back to life - just what the village needs. The plans look very exciting and will give them every chance of making a success of this venture - they have our wholehearted support.'

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