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Villagers fear pub may never reopen

PUBLISHED: 20:16 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:31 12 July 2010

Villagers fear a pub which has now been shut for nine months may never re-open.

The White Hart - one of three pubs at Stradbroke - closed at the end of last summer when the licensee suddenly departed.

Villagers fear a pub which has now been shut for nine months may never re-open.

The White Hart - one of three pubs at Stradbroke - closed at the end of last summer when the licensee suddenly departed.

Owner, Punch Taverns, has been trying to re-let the lease ever since but so far there have been no takers.

Now villagers fear there may be a further attempt to obtain permission to convert the pub for residential use and build homes on its extensive gardens.

The first attempt, made by a previous owner, failed when villagers launched a strong campaign, culminating in a refusal by Mid Suffolk District Council to grant planning permission.

However, with two other pubs in a village of only a few hundred people, some people believe an economic future for three pubs may be unsustainable.

Parish council chairman, Annie Kerr, said there were still hopes that the pub would re-open.

“However, we've got to be realistic and it may be that new landlords cannot be found. It will depend on the terms being offered for the lease,” she said.

Members of a successful bowls club attached to the White Hart have been continuing with their fixtures during the pub's closure.

“It is a thriving club and everyone will fight to keep it open, not only the club members but the wider community,” one member said.

A spokeswoman for Punch Taverns said: “Our priority is to get the White Hart, Stradbroke, open for trade as soon as possible.

“We are committed to building a successful future for this pub and currently in the process of recruiting a high calibre licensee.

“If any readers are interested in finding more about this opportunity, they can ring our recruitment team on 0844 848 3279 for further details.”

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