Riverside pub saved as 1,400 buy shares in £600,000 appeal

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

The future of an iconic riverside pub has been secured for years to come with 1,400 members of the community now proud shareholders.

The "staggering" target of £600,000 worth of shares in the Locks Inn, in Geldeston, was reached minutes before the end of the community share issue earlier this week.

The pub, on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, was bought by a community group for £405,000 at the 11th hour ahead of an auction in October, with the success of the share issue ensuring the group can pay off its loans and make major investments.

The Locks Inn in Geldeston.

The Locks Inn in Geldeston. - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

Essential works include an entirely new sewage treatment system and an "energy solution" to provide reliable and clean energy to the pub, which aims to become a social and community hub for the entire Waveney Valley.

Graham Elliott, who is spearheading the community group, said: "This is an overwhelming endorsement of our vision for the future of the pub.

"We took a gamble based on enthusiasm and pledges from hundreds of people and this gamble has massively paid off.

Graham Elliott

Graham Elliott - Credit: Nick Butcher

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"We have built an amazing team to get the project to this stage and are now refurbishing the pub in readiness for a spring opening."

A community share issue was launched in January, with more than 500 shareholders seizing the "once in a lifetime" opportunity to own part of the pub within a month.

Yet the shares continued to be snapped up until the deadline on Monday, March 15, comfortably passing a "revised and ambitious" target of 1,000 shareholders.

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The group aims 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.

The pub has been closed since Grain Brewery left the site in September, following previous owner Lee Bellis' decision to retire after 16 years.

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