VILLAGERS are becoming increasingly concerned about the future of a pub, which has remained closed since November.
Pakenham residents are keen for new owner Vince Somers to reopen The Fox as soon as possible.
Earlier this year, the property developer told residents and the parish council of his intentions to reopen it with a restaurant extension at the back and residential housing at the side but, as yet, no planning application has been submitted.
“It’s a concern that the pub’s not being used and we don’t like seeing it empty but obviously these things take time,” said Henry Painter, chairman of Pakenham Parish Council.
Lynn Patterson and Glynn Evans run the Fen House and say the closed pub has caused cancellations at their bed and breakfast.
Marsha Whatting described the pub as ‘a social conduit’ while Nick McIlwraith said it was ‘the hub of the community’ and Roger Harnor ‘an impromptu meeting place’.
Paul Stevenson is one of 10 villagers who recently vacationed together, having previously met at the pub.
He and Steve Wilkinson are concerned that people moving to Pakenham no longer have the same opportunities to meet people.
Mr Somers, who bought the pub as a vacant possession, said he would eventually reopen it and had no intention of ‘knocking it down’.
He said: “People think I’m not doing anything but a lot has gone on behind the scenes. At the moment I’m spending money on planning fees, consultation fees and architect fees to try to achieve something of a planning gain to allow me to refurbish the pub.”
He said The Fox needed at least £250,000 investment which, subject to planning approval, he hoped to pay for using profit from the sale of two houses he proposes to build on the site.