Stonham Aspal residents form group to save village pub

The Ten Bells pub in Stonham Apsal has been closed since March 2013a
The Ten Bells pub in Stonham Apsal has been closed since March 2013a

Residents of Stonham Aspal have formed a steering group to see if they can save the village’s only pub.

In March, the grade II listed Ten Bells pub, owned by Punch Taverns, was boarded up and put on the market.

But on June 6 a community meeting was held in the village attended by more than 40 people to see what could be done to save it.

A steering commitee was elected and a website and twitter account set up to promote the campaign.

Committee member Tracey Hall said: “A pub is 
essential to a village like Stonham Aspal.

“People often just come home from work and don’t meet their neighbours.

“Unless you go to the local school or church you don’t get to meet local people.

“But although it is essential, I recognise if you don’t get the formula right, it won’t work.”

The committee has recently visited the Sorrel Horse in Shottisham and the Punch Bowl in Battisford, two pubs supported by the community, to get ideas of where to go next.

They have also met with representives from Suffolk ACRE to inspire their business plan.

Tracey said: “The concensus from the meeting is that we want a pub in the village but it has to be financially viable.

“We wouldn’t want to take it on if we didn’t think it could work. We are looking about possibly going down the route of making it more than just a pub, a shop or an internnet cafe maybe.

“People would come there not just for a pint - you could have the mums next door having a coffee morning.

“There were also suggestions that we could set up a parcel drop there.

“It is almost going back to the old days when people didn’t have cars, it would be the essence of the village.”

A spokeswoman for Punch Taverns said: “We would consider talking to any interested parties with acceptable offers.”

To find out more about the campaign visit www.tenbells.co.uk