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Locals have just six weeks to save village pub

PUBLISHED: 11:36 11 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:34 11 December 2018

Les and Pat Christman, pictured in 2011, at the Jolly Farmers at Swanton Abbott; Photo: Bill Smith

Les and Pat Christman, pictured in 2011, at the Jolly Farmers at Swanton Abbott; Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

Residents of a north Norfolk village are holding a meeting to find out whether there’s enough support to buy the only pub in the village for the community.

Les and Pat Christman at the Jolly Farmers at Swanton Abbott in 2011; Photo: Bill SmithLes and Pat Christman at the Jolly Farmers at Swanton Abbott in 2011; Photo: Bill Smith

The Jolly Farmers in Swanton Abbott has already been registered with North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) as an asset of community value.

And people are holding a meeting in the village to discuss plans to buy the 19th century pub.

Gill Kimmerling, clerk to Swanton Abbott Parish Council, said: “The pub is still open, sporadically.

“The pub signs have been taken down. NNDC has told us that the landlord plans to dispose of this asset, which we have taken to mean, he wants to sell it. We have six weeks to decide whether the community wants to buy it.”

Current landlord and owner Les Christman bought the pub for about £180,000 about seven years ago, she said.

She added: “It’s run-down and is not currently viable. The owner had it on the market for two years and said he could not sell it. It’s the only community pub in the village.”

Mr Christman is currently unavailable for comment.

But he admitted at the end of August that business was “very difficult” due to a lack of customers.

But he said then that rumours in the village about his premises closing were not true.

Mr Christman said at the time: “We are just refurbishing the signs because they were getting a bit tatty.

“There aren’t really any plans for the pub, we are just carrying on providing a service for the village.”

However, he said the business was not currently sustainable, and was instead “a hobby”. He said the pub makes just enough money to cover the bills.

“It is very difficult at the moment because the village is not using it,” Mr Christman said.

Records show the pub’s first licensee was Robert Davison in 1836.

The meeting will be held at the village hall, from 6.30pm on Tuesday, December 11.

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