South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon believes there is plenty of community support to get a Pulham St Mary pub back in business — and has even said he will give the walls a lick of a paint in a bid to see it return to its former glory.
Graham Scott, who failed three years ago to get permission to build six new homes, had lodged an application to demolish the now-closed King’s Head at Pulham St Mary, a 16th Century Grade II listed public house which closed in 2007, and build six apartments and 12 homes.
Certainly, there is the will in the village to see it happen. There are lots of people who would give their time and their skills to see that brought back into useRichard Bacon MP
But this was turned down by South Norfolk Council in October. A petition, to gauge support for a potential compulsory purchase of the pub, and transferring the ownership to the community, was lodged with the district authority, gaining more than 500 signatures.
Conservative MP and Pulham St Mary resident Richard Bacon told the Diss Express: “The petition has been lodged and I think there was 550 signatures. There are only 420 houses in Pulham St Mary, so Clayton Hudson, the councillor who organised that, did a brilliant job.
“There is now a process which has to take place but I’m hopeful of the right outcome.
“Certainly, there is the will in the village to see it happen. There are lots of people who would give their time and their skills to see that brought back into use.
“I was talking to a neighbour who is a plumber, who said he wouldn’t mind giving his time for free to help fix that building.
“I used to run a paint house business, I would happily help paint.
“One of the reasons why I moved to the village was because it had a pub, as well as a shop and a post office and I used to eat there twice a week, and it did not fail for a lack of customers.”
The Conservative MP cited the example of The Crown Inn in neighbouring Pulham Market which, after a period of closure, reopened in 2014, and scooped South Norfolk Council’s Community Pub of the Year in September.
“That is proof it can be done,” he continued. “The ambition is to turn it into more a destination as it once was.
“The cricket club and the bowls club used to meet there and it used to be packed out. I remember since becoming a member of parliament (in 2001) not being able to get in there on a Friday or Saturday night without booking.
“It was very well-supported and I’m quite convinced it can be again. With a modern pub, the offer has to include food. There is a lot of space there, a lot of land, a lot of things that could be done with it, for young families with children.
“I’m convinced there is a good offer that needs to be carved out and the local community wants that to happen and who is going to help make it happen.”
The petition is set to be debated by South Norfolk Council on Monday, December 15.