Pub blaze wrecks hopes

Investing in Our Future. That was the sign outside the charred remains of the Duke of Gloucester pub after the derelict building- earmarked as a new community project – was ravaged by fire.

By Victoria Knowles

Investing in Our Future.

That was the sign outside the charred remains of the Duke of Gloucester pub after the derelict building- earmarked as a new community project – was ravaged by fire.

The building has recently been taken over by Sure Start, a government funded organisation which works with young children and families in deprived areas.


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It was supposed to be a new beginning for the old pub to once again make it a place for the community. But this hope was cut short today as flames licked at the building which has stood vacant for around ten months.

Fire engulfed the pub on Clapgate Lane at around 12.30am and firefighters had to cut away the fabric of the building to stop the fire reaching the roof.

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A police spokesperson confirmed today that they were treating the fire as arson.

"All I can say at the moment is that we are treating this fire as suspicious and we will be carrying out a full investigation as soon as possible along with the fire service."

John Veale, of Cotman Road, managed to capture the drama on his digital camera.

"The commotion woke me up in the early hours and when I went out there were loads of people around. At first I could not see the flames because there was so much smoke but suddenly they could be seen licking out of the roof top.

"It is such a shame because I can remember that place when it was a pub. It was the real centre of the community. Everyone used to go there and it was a lovely pub," he said.

Jack Saych, of Clapgate Lane, can also remember the place in its heyday.

"It is such a shame for everybody I can remember the place from years ago and it was a very nice building. It is sad to see it reduced to this today."

Another resident , who did not want to be named, said the building had been plagued with problems for many months.

"People have been dumping things there and kids have been causing problems so something like this was bound to happen. But it is sad to see it like this. Most people can remember it as a pub when it was a nice place to go. Now they have taken away another piece of our community," she said.

Fire crews from Hadleigh, Debenham, Woodbridge, Needham Market, Felixstowe and Bury St Edmunds attended the fire and managed to bring it under control by 3am.

Fire investigators were due on the scene at around 9am today.

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