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Community fears boarded-up village pub could be converted into homes

PUBLISHED: 16:25 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:04 08 August 2019

Sara Freakley, chairman of South Creake Parish Council, outside the Plume of Feathers pub. Photo:  Robert Freakley

Sara Freakley, chairman of South Creake Parish Council, outside the Plume of Feathers pub. Photo: Robert Freakley

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A north Norfolk community is calling for one of Europe's biggest brewers to reveal its plans for a boarded-up village pub amid fears it could be converted into houses.

Residents of South Creake have branded the empty Plume of Feathers pub in the village 'a war zone' ahead of plans to reopen. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPResidents of South Creake have branded the empty Plume of Feathers pub in the village 'a war zone' ahead of plans to reopen. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

The Grade-II listed Plume of Feathers pub, in South Creake, near Fakenham, has been sitting empty ever since its closure in the summer of 2017.

Despite being purchased by Star Pubs & Bars - the leased pub business of Heineken UK - no tenants have been found to run the premises.

Now, the pub, which was previously called The Ostrich, has been made an Asset of Community Value (ACV) to give it some protection from redevelopment.

Sara Freakley, chairman of South Creake Parish Council, said: "We call on Heineken to tell us what they plan to do with the Plume of Feathers.

Residents of South Creake have branded the empty Plume of Feathers pub in the village 'a war zone' ahead of plans to reopen. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPResidents of South Creake have branded the empty Plume of Feathers pub in the village 'a war zone' ahead of plans to reopen. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

"It's two years since they bought it and the neglected building is a blight on the village.

"Heineken should act in a socially responsible way, for example by releasing the pub to someone who values the community."

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Earlier this year, Star Pubs & Bars said the company remained "fully committed" to reopening the premises.

Residents of South Creake have branded the empty Plume of Feathers pub in the village 'a war zone' ahead of plans to reopen. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPResidents of South Creake have branded the empty Plume of Feathers pub in the village 'a war zone' ahead of plans to reopen. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Ms Freakley claimed the building had received "minimal care" since its closure, with villagers saying the building looks like something from a "war zone".

"They [the community] fear that Heineken may keep it empty for a long time and try to turn the Grade II listed building into homes," she said in a statement.

In April this year, more than 100 people from the village agreed they wanted to see the pub open again and voted to seek ACV status.

Star Pubs & Bars and Heineken were contacted for comment, but have not responded.

A spokesperson for Star Pubs & Bars said in April 2019: "We are pleased to say we have had a number of enquiries, including some from the local community itself, which we are progressing."

Richard Dixon, pub protection officer for the Norwich brand of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: "CAMRA welcomes the news that the villagers have been able to get the pub registered as an ACV.

"This means that if the pub comes up for sale as a development opportunity, the community will be notified and given the first opportunity to bid to buy the pub."

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