'It's a Norfolk legend' - Backing for community bid to save pub

Members of the community group outside the Locks Inn, in Geldeston.

Members of the community group outside the Locks Inn, in Geldeston. - Credit: Graham Elliott

A bid to save a pub described as a "Norfolk legend" has been backed by a local CAMRA branch as the "once in a lifetime" opportunity enters its final weeks.

Hundreds of shareholders have already seized the chance to own part of the Locks Inn, in Geldeston, after a community share issue was launched in January.

With time ticking away to get involved, the East Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have urged members of the public to show their support.

The Locks Inn in Geldeston.

The Locks Inn in Geldeston. - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

The pub, which features in the group's Good Beer Guide 2021, closed its doors in September after being listed for auction, before a community group led by East Suffolk councillor Graham Elliott purchased the pub for £405,000 at the 11th hour before going under the hammer.

Patrick Smith, vice chair of East Norfolk CAMRA, said: "There has been a pub at the Geldeston Locks for 300 years. It's a Norfolk legend.

"Last autumn it closed for possibly the last time. However, a group of locals have come together to save it.

"When they found out about this effort, East Norfolk CAMRA decided to help support the venture to protect this unique community pub for the future.

"A great deal of money has already been raised but more is needed to fully realise its potential.

"Our members are initially buying shares in the pub and would like to encourage all our friends and the general public to buy more to help out."

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The community share issue closes on March 15, with shares set at £50 each, with a maximum investment of £50,000, while investors will benefit from tax relief under the EIS scheme.

The community group aim to "secure the irreplaceable 300-year-old heritage of the iconic pub, reinforce the pub's role as a buzzing cultural hub for Norfolk and Suffolk alike, reinvigorate the pub as a thriving venue for musicians and music lovers, serve the best quality local food and drink, and create the greenest, fairest, best pub in Britain".

They also hope to welcome "story-tellers practicing their art by candlelight", as well as hosting theatre productions and art exhibitions.

To get involved, go to: www.savethelocks.com, email invest@savethelocks.com, or phone 01502 714 661.