Options for future of Graffham pub fail to get support

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Uncertainty continues to hang over The Forresters pub at Graffham after two suggestions from the landlord failed to get village support.

The pub has been closed since December 28 last year after the landlord Ray Tough said it was not supported sufficiently and he had suffered a substantial financial loss.

In January he offered villagers the chance to take it over as a community asset. But Graffham Parish Council decided as the pub was not for sale they would wait to consider options available when it was formally put on the market.

But at their latest meeting Mr Tough presented two options for the future of the pub and asked parish councillors for support.

The first was to open an unlicensed bed and breakfast business which would mean losing the pub and its restaurant. The former attached shop would become a self contained holiday cottage or be split into two more B&B rooms.

The second option was to downsize it to the size it was before the attached former shop became an extension. The old shop would then be become a separate two bedroom private house and the pub would be let.

In a letter to villagers sent to the parish council before the meeting Mr Tough said two pubs had been competing in a limited market in Graffham and some 37 public houses within a six mile radius as well as all the restaurants and other licenced premises nearby were competing for business.

“Graffham cannot now sufficiently support two public houses and it is unrealistic to expect The Forresters Arms to continue trading in its present form with us subsidising the business especially when we were also working long hours for no payment or expenses whatsoever.

Mr Tough said an option which might allow the pub to reopen was downsizing it.

He and his wife would live in the separate two bedroomed house.

“We would then look to let or possibly sell the pubic house with its flat above to a party who could of course be a villager.”

But parish councillors have decided not support to the options. They are now reapplying under the community right to bid scheme to nominate the pub as a community asset.

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