Community group re-opens village pub

A VILLAGE community has banded together to re-open its 300-year-old pub, which closed in 2009.

The Punch Bowl Inn, in Battisford, is being leased by a group of villagers as part of a scheme to provide a much-needed community hub for the 1,000 strong population.

The group will officially launch the community pub venture next Friday, July 8.

More than 60 villagers volunteered to help with the pub refurbishment, after a community interest company successfully negotiated with the owner for the lease.

The Punch Bowl Inn opened its doors to customers around Easter time, with beers supplied by local brewer Adnams.

It is open seven days a week, serving food every day except for Tuesday, when volunteers run the bar. The pub aims to use local suppliers and producers.

It is now hoped that the inn will act as a hub of activity for the village. The group aims to open a shop, arrange for a mobile post office to visit Battisford regularly and use the pub as a parcel collection point.

A working party was set up to co-ordinate the project and member Bryan Hilton said: “The re-opening of the Punch Bowl Inn is a vision derived from needs expressed in the parish plan questionnaire.

“We have worked hard over the last two years to bring this vital service and meeting place back to our community.”

Kate Antenbring, an experienced pub manager, has been employed to run the inn, and now lives in the building with her family.

Mr Hilton said: “We have had a lot of support and we are very pleased and encouraged by the progress so far.”

The group also thanked a number of organisations for advice, funding and interest in the project, including Pub is the Hub, Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and a number of local suppliers.