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Boxford businessman sets out plan to preserve future of pub

A businessman is hopeful that a major refurbishment of a Boxford pub will generate more revenue to keep the business afloat.

The Fleece has been closed for nearly two months after its previous landlords failed to make it a viable business.

John Norton, who owns the site in Broad Street,plans to convert the top floor of the pub in to flats, while turning the stables outside in to mews to provide further accommodation.

“It’s a big project to do in the sense that the stables have been used as a dumping ground for 100 years,” he said, adding that the additional income will help to prop up the pub’s finances, while enabling it to lease out the pub at a lower rate.

“I’m hoping this will do it,” said Mr Norton, who is keen to preserve the business as a community hub.

“I have spoken to a lot of people about it and everyone is in favour of keeping it if we can,” he said.

The mews accommodation, which is subject to planning permission, will also provide additional housing in the village.

“Locally, there is a quite a demand for relatively low-cost accommodation,” said Mr Norton, who said the venture could enable the pub to secure its future.

“It’s no good hitting your head against the brick wall, you have to recognise you have to change,” he said.

Despite rural pubs continuing to struggle, Mr Norton is determined to remain positive in an effort to retain the business in the village.

“I hope there is a demand,” he said. “Unfortunately, the market for pubs has shrunk over the years.”

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