Village bid to save pub from being sold for housing

Decoy Tavern Fritton Norfolk

A bid to demolish the Decoy Tavern in Fritton is in the hands of planners but efforts are being made to save it. - Credit: Google maps

A community is "testing the water" over a bid to save a village pub at risk of being lost forever and replaced by houses.

The Decoy Tavern, in Fritton, could be demolished and replaced with five "modest" homes amid claims the pub is unviable.

However, near neighbour Mark Foxhall says there could be another way with investor and community support.

Mark Foxhall of Fritton who is spearheading a drive to save The Decoy pub in the village.

Mark Foxhall of Fritton who is spearheading a drive to save The Decoy pub in the village. - Credit: Mark Foxhall

The 57-year-old says 30pc of the purchase price has already been secured and that he is being helped by the Plunkett Foundation, a charity that advises and supports groups on how to run community businesses. 

With enough support he plans to work up a business case and attempt to buy the pub before it is too late.

He said he was "horrified" by the redevelopment plan which would sweep away a pub which, in his view, had the potential to be a destination venue helped by its location close to the waterways, public footpaths, and dog-walker woods.

"It had been for sale for some time then the sale boards came down and I wondered if they had changed their minds.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be knocked down.

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"It has been there since 1861. The pandemic has not helped. The last 20 months have not been an ideal time for trading.

"There's no doubt about it, it does need some investment and there is quite a bit of weight behind what we are doing."

Mr Foxhall has put leaflets through around 130 doors asking if villagers would be interested in playing some part in saving it - but wants to reach out to people across Norfolk and north Suffolk.

Planning papers say it was valued for sale at £395,000 but only achieved an offer of £275,000 and was taken off the market.

The redevelopment plans have triggered a raft of objections. One respondent said knocking it down would be "a tragic loss" and erode the village's identity.

Several said the pub was "the heart of the village" and that there were other sites for five new homes.

Conservationists say the building has local character and and are pushing for conversion rather than demolition.

To find out more about the community bid contact markfoxhall@me.com.

To view the plans visit the borough council's planning portal quoting 06/21/0899/F.


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