Resident saves Fleggburgh pub for the community

It had been at the heart of village life for more than a century and, even before it was built in 1905, another pub had been on the site since at least the early 1800s.

However, little more than a year ago the outlook for the Kings Arms in Fleggburgh, near Great Yarmouth, looked bleak with the brewery, Admiral Taverns, looking to sell it and one prospective buyer seeking to develop at least part of the site for housing.

But the prospect of losing the community hub was too much to bear for pub regular Philip Scott, 57, who has lived in the village for more than 30 years.

Encouraged by the landlord and landlady, Julian Richards and Elaine Sturman, the retired Aviva finance director and his wife, Helen, put in an offer for the pub, which was accepted.

And 12 months on, following a top-to-bottom refurbishment, the Kings Arms is ready to enter an exciting new era with the opening of its restaurant set for next Friday.

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Mr Scott, of Silver Street, Fleggburgh, said: 'We have been regulars at the pub all the time we have lived here.

'When, last year, the pub was up for sale, it was clear that the person trying to buy it was seeking to close it and develop it for housing –unfortunately the way so many village pubs go.

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'My wife and I believe pubs are part of the community. In this village we lost our shop a number of years ago to housing and we did not want the pub to go the same way.

'The first phase of our investment involved refurbishing everything from the floors, walls and ceiling to the roof, drains and electrics,' he said.

'Then in May we had a new bar designed and built by our son-in-law, Mark Lawler who lives and works in Ireland.

'The final work has been building a small dining room, new toilets and a new kitchen.'

He said their aim was to achieve 'a sustainable village pub that will appeal to many types of customer'.

While many Norfolk pubs had been turned into restaurants, they were determined to retain a bar for drinkers, stocking a range of real ales and ciders.

'We want to offer darts and pool, things that make a good pub,' he said.

It is hoped the restaurant will attract tourists and the many ramblers who enjoy the local countryside.

Mr Richards, originally from Yorkshire, took over the Kings Arms with his wife Elaine six months before Admiral sold it.

He said: 'The importance of the pub to the local community is reflected in the fact that we run four darts and two pool teams as well as sponsoring a number of sports clubs.'

The local character of the Kings Arms was also shown by the fact that a descendant of Samuel Mallett, the pub's first landlord in 1905, was the greenkeeper at the village bowls club and a regular pub visitor.

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