Norfolk village’s nine-year fight to reopen pub

The Fox Inn, Garboldisham.

The Fox Inn, Garboldisham. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A village's nine-year fight to get its only pub reopened is nearly over after its owners accepted a bid.

The last pint was pulled at the 250-year-old Fox Inn in Garboldisham in February 2007.

The site has since seen a bid for housing rejected in 2009, and a series of bids for the pub also turned down.

That was until the Fox Committee started its campaign to buy the pub, attracting the support of Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, and using the slogan 'Keep Believing' as they rallied the community.

And after a three week whirlwind of fundraising in April which saw £180,000 raised by the community, an offer has now been put in and accepted.

Peter Smith, of the Fox Committee, said the signs were positive.

'There are still bits and pieces to sort with the solicitors but the bid has been accepted and it's looking good,' he said.

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The purchase comes after the Grade II listed pub was included on the Assets of Community Value list in 2014.

Then, in January of this year, a six month moratorium was triggered which meant that the Fox Committee had until June 1 to raise the necessary funds and place a bid.

Mr Smith said that their offer had come in under the asking price, but after a nail-biting few days, it had been accepted. Once the deal is finalised, the next step for the pub will be a refurbishment.

Mr Smith said he hoped the whole project, including the purchase of the building, could be done for less than £500,000.

'I've tried to explain it to people as like trying to climb Everest. We're now at base camp, but there's a long way to go,' he said. Once completed, the pub will be the final piece in the puzzle for the village, according to Mr Smith.

'We all think of Garboldisham as the centre of the universe.

'It's got a really good village hall, a beautiful church, a great local shop and post office but the only thing it is missing is a pub,' he said.

It is hoped the pub will reopen as soon as possible, but its status as a listed building means a range of permissions will need to be sought from Breckland Council.

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