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Double whammy as pubs close

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:53 01 August 2010

THE Waveney Valley's pub scene suffered a double blow this week to make it a gloomy start to the new year.

As predicted in last week's Journal, the Tally Ho! at Mettingham closed its doors for the last time on Sunday.

THE Waveney Valley's pub scene suffered a double blow this week to make it a gloomy start to the new year.

As predicted in last week's Journal, the Tally Ho! at Mettingham closed its doors for the last time on Sunday.

And in Bungay, the Angel Inn became a second victim of the recession on the same day.

It leaves the town itself, which had 11 pubs entering the new millennium, with just seven now.

At the Angel, as equipment was being stripped from the premises, owner James Walker blamed the recession and no-smoking laws and said he had taken the decision because he was losing £400 to £500 a week.

“Business has dropped off in the last 18 months since the smoking ban was introduced,” he said. “There has been a marked downturn since that happened and a general downturn in the number of regular customers.”

Mr Walker, who took over the Angel in 2001, admitted to feeling sad and frustrated that he had to close it.

“I have spoken to various people who say it is a nice pub, but the compet-ition in Bungay is too much for it. Bungay has a population of 5,000, less than 1,000 people per pub,” he said.

Only recently Mr Walker put in a plan to build two houses on part of the car park, but that was turned down by Waveney council planners because it would mean extra traffic using the entrance at the narrow Lower Olland Street/St Mary's Street junction.

But he said he was talking to the planners and, with the pub closed, he would convert it to residential accommodation and hoped to be allowed to build one house at the back of the car park.

The inn has three letting rooms upstairs which have not been used for five years. “It is just the malaise in the market; no one has got spare money to spend,” Mr Walker said.

A closing-down karaoke night organ-ised by manager Frank Lowe brought the Angel's long history to a close.

Richard Harris, owner of the Tally Ho! confirmed that the pub and restaurant had closed on Sunday and blamed the recession, which he said had greatly affected business in recent months.

He said he regretted having to take the ultimate step and close it, but it had been up for sale for some time and there had been little interest so far.

Bungay mayor John Groom said: “It is not good news when any business closes. We do not need anything else to damage the heart of Bungay. Losing any business is going to be a blow for us.” And Mr Groom, who lives at Mettingham, said of the Tally Ho! closure: “It is such a shame these premises are closing. Unfortunately with pubs it is a sign of the times. People have to use these amenities or risk losing them.”

The closure of the Tally Ho! means the Sole Bay Jazz Band, which has played Thursday sessions there for almost half a century, has had to find a new home. From last night it moved to the Buck at Flixton, and it will be there each Thursday from 8.30pm.

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