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April opening time set for £150,000 village-owned pub

KINGS ARMS, SHOULDHAM                                            
 
Members of the committee celebrate taking over the Kings Arms in traditional style.  From left Nick Hart, Andy Everett, John McGourty (chairman), Keith Matthews and Alan and Maureen Austin

KINGS ARMS, SHOULDHAM Members of the committee celebrate taking over the Kings Arms in traditional style. From left Nick Hart, Andy Everett, John McGourty (chairman), Keith Matthews and Alan and Maureen Austin

Villagers are hoping to be serving drinks behind the bar of their community-owned pub as soon as April.

Months of hard work has finally paid off for members of the Shouldham Save Our King’s Arms (SOKA) campaign when they finally received the keys to the building on Friday last week.

Villagers have raised £150,000 by selling shares and received requests from America and Canada after a supportive Tweet by Norfolk -based actor Stephen Fry.

Now the committee is finalising its plans for refurbishing the pub, which could be open in three months time.

The King’s Arms will once again become a pub and restaurant but could also provide meals for the St Martin at Shouldham Primary School.

Campaign chairman John McGourty said: “It is really exciting to get the keys. It was lovely to walk around the building on Friday afternoon knowing that it is ours again and how it might look.”

But now the community has the pub, it faces further hard work in transforming it.

The committee is holding talks with a builder to get full costings but is also looking for volunteers to do DIY jobs.

A planning application has also been lodged with West Norfolk Council to add a disabled persons’ toilet and entrance to the pub. Mr McGourty said: “There is potentially quite a lot of work to do if we can truly afford it.

There has been very little spent on the heating system for a very long time and the building could do with some insulation.

“We want to make it more usable in the terms of dining space and also want a room large enough for bigger events.

“We will be involving volunteers and people from the community in helping with the refurbishment in clearing out the garden and painting and decorating.”

Adverts have also been placed to find a manager and chief for the ambitious plans.

He said: “We are aiming to have a really warm welcoming pub that is family friendly with good food and ale with nice ambience.

“In addition, we are planning to run additional services.

“We want to have a cafe that fits in with the school run but also open at other hours and we are exploring the feasibility of providing meals to the village school and other community activities.

“Being a community pub we want to be more than just a pub but a hub for the whole village.”

Pictured celebrating, from left, are Nick Hart, Andy Everett, John McGourty, Keith Matthews with Alan and Maureen Austin. MLNF14PB01002

 

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