Under-threat pub withdrawn from sale

The White Horse, Felixstowe.

The White Horse was withdrawn from sale just days after going on the market - Credit: Archant

An under-threat Suffolk pub has been taken off the market - just days after being put up for sale.

Campaigners are expecting to hear shortly whether their bid to have the White Horse at Old Felixstowe designated as a Community Asset has been approved.

The Save the White Horse campaign is asking East Suffolk Council to list the pub in Church Road to enable the community to put together a buy-out bid.

Their hopes of saving the pub have also been strengthened by the council's design and conservation officer Thomas Pierce, who feels the building should be made a Non Designated Heritage Asset (NDHA) to give it protection from the bulldozers.

Pub owners Punch Taverns had meanwhile put the pub up for sale with Savills. However, yesterday the pub was removed from its website.

It had been designated as "of interest to pub operators and developers, subject to planning permission" but no price was stipulated and offers were invited.

Punch's planning application to demolish the White Horse to make way for a convenience store with four flats above and two three-bed bungalows in its car park still sits undecided with planners.

More than 400 people have objected to the proposals, along with Felixstowe Town Council, the Felixstowe Society and Fair Play for Felixstowe. 


The White Horse, Felixstowe.

The White Horse is still waiting to find out its fate - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The pub is more than 100 years old and sits on a site used as an inn for centuries. It stands at the heart of the Old Felixstowe 'village centre' and opposite listed St Peter and St Paul Church, which dates back to the 1300s.

The current pub building was designed by Thomas Cotman  - designer of many of Felixstowe's best-known buildings, including the Felix Hotel (Harvest House), and also many in Ipswich, including those around the Cornhill.

CPC Planning Consultants Limited, for Punch Taverns, said the majority of the trade at the pub was "drink focussed" relying on local regulars rather than food and people from outside the area.

It said: "The pub has recently found a declining trade, with a significant drop in revenue in 2019. Businesses such as the one run at White Horse have been unable to compete in the current market due to the lack of a food offering and declining wet sales resulting in the business as loss-making.

"Even with a substantial investment, in the region of circa £150,000, to improve the condition and presentation of the property, reflective of the existing choice in the immediate area, this would not attract any additional trade."