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Shares target to save north Suffolk pub falls well short

Stonham Aspal, Suffolk. Ten Bells pub which has closed in Stonham Aspal

Stonham Aspal, Suffolk. Ten Bells pub which has closed in Stonham Aspal

The chairman of a committee charged with raising funds to save a village pub has spoken of her “huge disappointment” after they failed to raise enough money to purchase the building.

The Ten Bells pub, in The Street, Stonham Aspal, has been closed since March of last year. A steering group formed last summer, replaced by a management committee, was hoping to buy the Grade II listed property through a share scheme.

Residents of the village had been given the chance to pledge shares in building, which was to be turned into a community hub, also offering also offer a coffee shop, parcel drop facility, and free wi-fi. The Punch Taverns pub is available on the market for £210,000.

But after the share deadline expired last Friday, it was revealed efforts had fallen short, with less than £100,000 pledged in shares.

“We are nowhere near,” she said. “It is hugely disappointing.

“It is still not too late to pledge money before March 6, but we probably need four or five people willing to invest £10,000 or £20,000.

“It is really disappointing, especially for the people who had their money in. A lot of people who expressed an interest early on did not put any money in.“

“I think we will see it as a real shame we are losing the heart of the village.”

Miss Hall said their campaign had received support from as far as Manchester, and added: “The only good thing that has come out of it is that we have had really good feedback from people who do not even live in the village which is nice, and makes it worthwhile.”

A notice of members meeting has been arranged for Thursday, at the Stonham Aspal Village Hall, for 7.30pm, to discuss the options following the closure of the share offer.

Miss Hall said the options were to either “walk away,” or to hope a small number of people could invest large amounts of money.

Thursday is also the date where the building can be subject to outside bids.

“If someone comes in externally (to buy the building) they are not going to want a community hub,” she added. “They will want it as a pub, which is fine, but it will be a lost opportunity.”

For more information on the bid to save the Ten Bells pub, visit www.tenbells.co.uk

 

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