A village pub that has been closed for 18 months is getting a new lease of life as a cyclists’ shop and cafe.
Father and son Barry and Matt Denny, whose company Lark Valley Projects usually renovates residential properties, has bought the Metcalfe Arms on the green at Hawstead and are turning it into a cycle shop and licensed cafe.
It will be run by a new company they have created called Maglia Rosso, the Italian for red jersey as worn by the points leader in Italian cycle races and by the West Suffolk Wheelers club they both belong to.
Barry said: “We want it to be a destination for cyclists, but we also want the local community to use it as a place to meet friends and have a coffee or a glass of wine.
“The are lovely walks around there and we plan to do cycle hire so families can come out and ride round there. There are some quiet lanes round there and we’ll do route maps.
“I think it’s what has got to happen to a lot of village pubs — they’ve got to find a new life as something else to survive.”
The pair argue that the massive increase in the popularity of cycling as a sport and leisure activity has created big demand for good quality bikes, accessories, repairs and service and by combining those with a good cafe, they should create a destination for local cyclists and visitors exploring the Bury St Edmunds area.
They are hoping to reopen it in April, as the weather improves and cycle racing starts again, including the inaugural Women’s Tour of Britain finishing in Bury in May.
Barry added: “We’ve got a lot of work to do because the pub is in a sorry state and we’re going to do it out nicely.”
The Metcalfe Arms is believed to have 17th origins and the work will create a cycle shop and showroom, workshop and spacious café, with patio and garden area, next to the large car and cycle parking area.
It was the only pub in the village and Barry says local people are pleased to see it coming back into use.