Residents cough up £90k to save pub

RESIDENTS of Harkstead have pledged loans of £90,000 in just a week since a meeting was held to decide on the future of their village pub.The Baker's Arms, Harkstead, has been put on the market by its owners, Pubmaster, at an asking price of £175,000.

RESIDENTS of Harkstead have pledged loans of £90,000 in just a week since a meeting was held to decide on the future of their village pub.

The Baker's Arms has been put on the market by its owners, Pubmaster, at an asking price of £175,000.

The pub's landlord and landlady Kevin Dale and Maggie Bennett have announced they are leaving on October 3, after more than two years of building up the pub's reputation for its food.

Villagers feared that the pub could be closed and left a boarded-up eyesore if new tenants could not be found and a village meeting was called to decide what should be done.

Following the meeting the group have looked into available grants and into what the legal set-up would have to be if a village buy-out went ahead to. They have also surveyed the pub, which is in need of some repair.

Rodney Freeman, former chairman of the parish council, canvassed 70 households to find out what money could be raised and ended up with verbal pledges totalling £90,000. He said there were still many bits of the jigsaw to put together before it could be assessed whether the pub had a future.

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The results of the group's efforts will be reported to a village meeting next Monday evening, September 23.

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