Village pub to finally reopen after being shut for four years
- Credit: Archant
A village local which was taken over by members of the community following a tireless campaign is finally set to reopen.
The White Swan in Gressenhall, near Dereham, will begin welcoming punters once again from Thursday, May 26.
The pub was successfully acquired in 2020 by Gressenhall Community Enterprise (GCE), which had launched an ambitious effort to prevent it from being turned into housing.
GCE raised £260,000 in community shares and received a £100,000 grant from the Plunkett Foundation to get the purchase over the line.
Since the beginning of last year - when the group picked up the keys - a complete redesign of the interior and outdoor space has been in the works.
And Alex Begg, chairman of GCE, said it had been pleasing to see plans fall into place.
"We are now in the final stages," he added. "There are still a few bits left to do, but it is all coming together nicely.
"The pub has changed quite considerably over the last few months, but it is very sympathetic to the quality rural pub that we are aspiring to create."
The team of local contractors and volunteers working on The White Swan have virtually started from scratch on its redevelopment.
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That means fresh plastering, plumbing and electrics, in addition to impressive flagstone flooring, while a pair of carpenters have restored the old bar with a beautiful oak top.
Bi-folding doors have been installed in the cart shed to the rear of the building, and new turf laid to form the basis of an attractive beer garden.
With just two weeks to go until the big day, Mr Begg said there was a tangible buzz in the village.
"It is massively exciting for all the volunteer community and the people here," he added.
"The pub has not necessarily always been enjoyed to its full potential, but it has become important again. It embodies that shared purpose where everybody has banded together to create something really special.
"It also provides another focal point right in the middle of the village.
"Now, we are hoping for a really good start to the next chapter."
The White Swan will begin by serving drinks only, but hopes to begin offering food at some point this summer.