Villagers fight back at latest plans for pub

UP FOR SALE: Jeff Bobo, Brian Lancaster and Brian Bailey outside The Rose and Crown pub.
UP FOR SALE: Jeff Bobo, Brian Lancaster and Brian Bailey outside The Rose and Crown pub.

Bridge Street residents are protesting about new plans for their village pub, which has been closed for nearly a year and is up for sale.

An emergency parish council meeting is being held tomorrow to discuss a planning application to build a storage unit and put a partition wall in the the Rose and Crown, which is a listed building.

The seven-bedroom pub is for sale with Sworders for £550,000 and pub owner Richard Gray, who lives there with his wife and two young children, said he had put “a lot of hard work into the place” but had closed it last January after running it as a pub and cafe for a year-and-a-half because of tough trading conditions.

The meeting of Alpheton Parish Council is to discuss current plans submitted to Babergh District Council, and nearby residents have spoken out against them.

Alpheton parish councillor Richard Kemp said the community was unhappy with the fact it had lost a long-standing pub.

“There is a great deal of unhappiness in the local community that the pub is closed and up for sale,” he said. “I think they were aiming at a niche market and, unfortunately, these days if you sell food, you have to aim it at value for money.”

Mr Kemp said he had asked the district council for an update on an enforcement notice at the pub as a fence and several temporary buildings, visible from the main road, should have been removed at least a month ago.

Bridge Street resident Brian Bailey said: “I fail to understand why such development is needed as the Rose and Crown is no longer trading. The current owners never kept regular trading hours and appeared to operate half-heartedly.”

He said plans for the partition were more in keeping with a house than a pub.

Marianne Bobo, also from Bridge Street, said she had lived in the village for 30 years and there had been strong support for the pub.

“We have had many good times at the pub,” she said. “We feel strongly that it should not become a residential property.”