Villagers upset after Lion pub in Leavenheath closes down

The Lion pub in Leavenheath.
The Lion pub in Leavenheath.
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Villagers in Leavenheath are upset that one of their pubs has closed and could become a residential property in the future.

The Lion closed its doors on January 2, with a message on its telephone line, from operator S&J Inns, confirming that it had ceased trading.

Will Raymond, manager of Leavenheath’s Hare and Hounds pub, said villagers had told him that they were unhappy The Lion had closed without giving residents any notice. They do not want to lose it as a pub to become a house, he said.

“The Lion was open over Christmas and on New Year’s Day, but then it closed the following day,” said Mr Raymond.

“It’s been up for sale for about a year, and now there’s a planning application for a change of use from commercial to residential.

“A lot of villagers are upset about it because it’s not nice when a village community loses one of its pubs.”

Mr Raymond said he had received a lot of support from villagers saying they will ensure The Hare and Hounds gets the community’s support and business to ensure it does not suffer the same fate.

He said: “I’ve assured everyone that it’s business as usual this end of the village; we are not going anywhere.

He added that the Hare and Hounds was doing well. “Our business is going from strength to strength”, he said.

“In recent years, The Lion has focused on its restaurant side, which has meant we have gained some of its regulars.”

The Lion had been run by Richard and Paulina Ferris since 2013, although a pub could be traced back to the site since 1869.

“There’s been a lot of talk from villagers about what The Lion was like back in its heyday,” said Mr Raymond.

“The planning application seems to say there is no room for two pubs in the village, but others, like Boxford for example, seem to survive with more than one pub.”