Extension plans go in for Shouldham’s community owned pub

Kings Arms at Shouldham celebrate their official opening. Front LtoR - Phil Harriss (SOKA secretary), Terry Stork (pub is the hub) and John McGourty (SOKA chairman). Back Centre are Abbie Panks and Ian Skinner who run the pub. ANL-140914-234103009
Kings Arms at Shouldham celebrate their official opening. Front LtoR - Phil Harriss (SOKA secretary), Terry Stork (pub is the hub) and John McGourty (SOKA chairman). Back Centre are Abbie Panks and Ian Skinner who run the pub. ANL-140914-234103009
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Plans have been submitted to extend a popular pub which was once closed for two years before being bought by the community.

The King’s Arms in Shouldham has been going from strength to strength since the doors opened six months ago.

Villagers bought the building by selling shares via the Shouldham Save Our King’s Arms (SOKA) campaign.

Now plans have been submitted to West Norfolk Council for permission to add a patio area and extension onto the building.

Campaign chairman John McGourty said: “We have had a very successful first six months. Trading held up very well in January and February.

“It has been a lot of hard work but now we are seeing the fruits of our labours.”

The community would like to add a patio onto the front of the building to allow customers to enjoy a drink while overlooking the picturesque village green.

The plans, which were submitted to the council on March 2, also include an extension onto the side of the building to include a disabled toilet and baby changing facilities.

Mr McGourty said: “I think this will make it more inclusive. We have several people coming in who are wheelchair users who come into the pub.

“We have gone out to builders for quotes and that will determine the start date.”

The community have made a massive success out of the pub, which was previously owned by Punch Taverns and closed in 2012 after struggling to keep up with rent repayments.

Mr McGourty said: “It is very viable and I think that is partly down to its diversity.

“We have the community café which is run entirely by volunteers and all the cakes are produced by local people.

“In addition, we have other activities going on such as knit and natter, after school Spanish, poetry evenings and philosophy evenings.

“We are trying to encourage lots of activities.

“We have been very fortunate with our staff. We have an excellent manager in Ian Skinner and we offer a warm friendly welcome.

“We now have a chef, Jo Freeman, who is producing very good locally sourced food.”

The pub also holds regular music nights.

Today Tony Brooks and Yve Mary B, from Alabama, will perform in the pub from 8pm and The Hobblers are set to entertain on Friday, March 13.

Six Nations matches are also being shown in the pub.

For more information on the pub and its forthcoming events go to www.kingsarmsshouldham.co.uk