Community is handed the keys to Garboldisham pub which has been closed for nine years
It has been nine years since a pint was last pulled at The Fox Inn, Garboldisham.
During those years the community have fought hard to fend off applications to change the use of the pub and to try and make it once again the heart of the community. Today the celebrations have started as the keys to the Grade II-listed building are handed over to the Garboldisham Fox Community Interest Company, which will reopen it as a pub and restaurant.
The group has an ambitious renovation plan for the 242-year-old building – including creating a new restaurant area, refurbishing the bar areas and building new units to house local start-up businesses – and will listen to what the villagers want from their pub.
Peter Smith, director of The Garboldisham Fox Community Interest Company, said he believed it would be another two years before the refurbishments are completed and the pub will be ready to open.
'I am delighted we have managed to get this far,' he said.
You may also want to watch:
'It is an iconic building on the crossroads and it has looked a mess for so long. We have so many other buildings in the village which look so lovely.
'I am looking forward to making it back to what it should be, an old country pub. We have put a leaflet out to ask people what they want for the pub.'
- 1 Top of the Pops dancer, Octopussy star and 'Lord' settles in Norfolk
- 2 Reduce your dementia risk with 7 lifestyle changes
- 3 Woman injured by jars of sauce thrown in Sainsbury's
- 4 Wanted Norwich man arrested in north Norfolk village
- 5 Man exposed himself to three teenage girls at Morrisons
- 6 BBC Springwatch films at Norfolk nature haven - with beavers
- 7 'They thought I was crazy' - New owner's lockdown pub success
- 8 'Vulnerable' Norfolk man missing from home
- 9 A47 tailbacks as roadworks move west near Norwich
- 10 Bar splashes out £500,000 on outdoor dining area
The pub was included on the assets of community value (ACV) list in 2014 and in January a six-month moratorium was triggered which meant that the community group had until June 1 to raise the necessary funds and place a bid. The committee was supported by Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, and used the slogan 'Keep Believing' as they rallied the community.
Fundraising began in April to raise the £180,000 needed to buy the pub. £85,000 of that was raised by the community, 66 of which became shareholders, and the rest came from loans.
Mr Smith said he believed the total of buying and refurbishing The Fox Inn will come in at around £500,000.
He said: 'The thing that pushed it [the committee being successful in buying the pub] was the ACV. I think it sends out a powerful message that the community wants it and values it.
'It also generates a sense of urgency. The nice thing is everybody has chipped in. We know people who could not afford very much who have backed it with money.'
On Saturday a community celebration will be held at the pub at 11am. The first beer will be delivered by dray cart.
For more information about the community group, email firstname.lastname@example.org