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What endangered pub could look like after £150,000 redevelopment

PUBLISHED: 15:57 15 November 2019

An artist's impression of what The Swan in Gressenhall could look like following a �150,000 redevelopment. Picture: Courtesy of Gressenhall Community Enterprise

An artist's impression of what The Swan in Gressenhall could look like following a �150,000 redevelopment. Picture: Courtesy of Gressenhall Community Enterprise

Archant

New pictures have revealed what an endangered pub may look like if a community group buys it.

Gressenhall Community Enterprise is keen to buy The Swan and bring it under community ownership. Picture: ArchantGressenhall Community Enterprise is keen to buy The Swan and bring it under community ownership. Picture: Archant

The Swan in Gressenhall, near Dereham, stopped trading in July last year and is under threat of being turned into housing.

But Gressenhall Community Enterprise (GCE) wants to buy the pub and bring it under community ownership.

Having become a community benefit society, GCE hopes to launch a crowdfunding campaign allowing local people to buy a stake in the pub.

An artist's impression of what The Swan in Gressenhall could look like following a £150,000 redevelopment. Picture: Courtesy of Gressenhall Community EnterpriseAn artist's impression of what The Swan in Gressenhall could look like following a £150,000 redevelopment. Picture: Courtesy of Gressenhall Community Enterprise

As a result of its endeavours, the group was recently nominated for a national award by the Plunkett Foundation, which supports rural communities across the UK in overcoming local challenges.

Now GCE has unveiled artist's impressions of The Swan following a prospective £150,000 revamp, with a more modern look and the main entrance moved to the front of the pub.

Another notable alteration is a change of name from The Swan to The White Swan, reverting back to its original 18th century title.

Alastair Simpson, owner of The Swan in Gressenhall, is looking to demolish the pub and turn it into new homes. Picture: ArchantAlastair Simpson, owner of The Swan in Gressenhall, is looking to demolish the pub and turn it into new homes. Picture: Archant

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Alex Begg, chairman of GCE, said: "The design seeks to make The Swan a space that can be used and enjoyed by all the community on a regular basis.

"We're thinking about taking the pub back to its original name. It not only gives it a bit of a rebrand, but also celebrates the history."

Conservative parliamentary candidate for Mid Norfolk, George Freeman, with Gressenhall Community Enterprise chairman, Alex Begg. Picture: Gressenhall Community EnterpriseConservative parliamentary candidate for Mid Norfolk, George Freeman, with Gressenhall Community Enterprise chairman, Alex Begg. Picture: Gressenhall Community Enterprise

GCE hopes moving the entrance will give an improved customer experience, with punters walking into the bar area instead of the toilet corridor.

Non-supporting walls will be demolished to create more of an open house and the pub will be made more disability friendly.

The move has been backed by Conservative parliamentary candidate for Mid Norfolk, George Freeman.

More than 200 people gathered at Gressenhall Green in August to join the fight to save The Swan. Picture: Alex BeggMore than 200 people gathered at Gressenhall Green in August to join the fight to save The Swan. Picture: Alex Begg

As the project moves forward, GCE could be soon be recognised for its efforts having being named a finalist in the One to Watch category at the Plunkett Foundation's Rural Community Business Awards.

"Our group has put in a lot of hard work to get to this point," added Mr Begg. "There are now numerous other groups looking to do similar things so it's really pleasing to be recognised.

"Being shortlisted reflects the passion and commitment of local people to keep the pub open and turn it into a vibrant hub for the community."

To give feedback or find out more about upcoming GCE events, email communitypubgressenhall@gmail.com

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