The Blue Bell pub at Stoke Ferry. Picture: Paul Tibbs

A rallying call has been made for residents to help to save a village’s last pub and turn it into a community asset.

Stoke Ferry Parish Council is spearheading an open meeting on Wednesday in the hope residents will come forward with ideas to save the Blue Bell pub in Lynn Road.

The council has reapplied to West Norfolk Council to register the building as a community asset as a previously successful registration has now lapsed.

The pub, which has been in the village for many years, went up for sale about a year ago.

Jim McNeill, vice-chairman of the parish council, said it was the last pub in a village which saw its Post Office close last year.

The village has been designated as a key rural hub and he said securing the pub as some form of community asset was important.

Mr McNeill said the pub was bought by a company and it was understood a new tenant had been found, but the council was then told the tenant had pulled out and an application was submitted by the owner to change the use to residential.  

The change of use application was however, rejected by the borough council and, in the wake of this, the parish council has reapplied for community asset registration.

Mr McNeill said the open meeting at 7pm at the village hall, is to discuss the future of the pub and give residents a chance to show their support and suggest ideas such as a community pub similar to the successful King’s Arms at Shouldham, which was saved after community intervention. 

Other ideas could be a licensed cafe or a venue for crafts or workshops.

“The King’s Arms has been incredibly successful. We would like to do something like this, this type of venture is happening all over the country,” said Mr McNeill.

He added the meeting was to determine the level of interest, see if people would be prepared to run the premises and to decide what to do next.

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