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Last Updated: Friday, 23 July, 2004, 19:17 GMT 20:17 UK
Village fears losing its only pub
De La Pole Arms
The De La Pole Arms in Wingfield has been closed
People living in a Suffolk village with no shops or village hall fear they are about to lose its only pub.

The De La Pole Arms in Wingfield has been shut down because it is losing money and is to be sold by the St Peter's Brewery.

People fear it will become a private house and villager Harriet Bowes said if the pub goes, a piece of village history will be gone for ever.

The owners of the pub said they want to explore all the options.

St Peter's Brewery took over the pub 10 years ago.

Lost money

Chairman John Murphy said: "I think the best we ever did was we broke even for a few years but last year we lost money in quite large volumes and I own the business and most of that money has come out of my own pocket."

The closure of the village pub is a prospect facing many rural communities.

Down the road at Little Glenham last year when The Lion was struggling and faced being converted, Adam Wardrop and his wife took the plunge and took it over.

"It's probably a little bit harder than maybe we initially thought, but we are confident that given time and hard work we can turn it round," Mr Wardrop said.

Success story

There are success stories. In Cambridgeshire The Dyke's End at Reach has been taken over and run by the community.

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, said rural pubs needed support - and quickly.

"If you have got a vested interest in supporting rural pubs, then get out there. There is no guarantee that the pubs that are out there today will be there in four or five years' time, " said spokesman Adam Smith.

Back at Wingfield the brewery said it wanted to explore all other options before any application is submitted for a change of use of the De La Pole Arms, but its permanent closure is certainly a possibility.


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