Pub owners welcomed by Little Thurlow community

The Cock Little Thurlow.

Picture Mark Westley ANL-151222-211226009

The Cock Little Thurlow. Picture Mark Westley ANL-151222-211226009

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A community group set up to buy a 300-year-old pub in Little Thurlow has said it is ‘chuffed’ new owners have vowed to ensure the business continues.

After it emerged last year The Cock, in The Street, was to be sold a 12-strong committee of residents was formed in an attempt to buy the building and prevent it falling into the hands of housing developers.

The group managed to have the 17th century pub registered as an Asset of Community Value, giving it the right to buy the building if sufficient funds could be raised.

Although the committee was left disappointed when a bid to purchase the freehold, valued at £400,000, was rejected in February it now has cause for celebration after the pub was bought by Alex Bourne, 32, and his wife Rebecca, 31. The couple are currently carrying out refurbishments and have told the Echo the building will reopen as a pub and community shop next month.

“We are chuffed with how everything has turned out because all we ever wanted was to ensure the survival of the pub,” said Lee Abbey, one of the committee members.

“We had a meeting with Alex at the pub last week and congratulated him. We are very pleased.”

The community group had set up a website asking for support in its efforts to buy the pub. Shares were being offered for £250 - later reduced to £50 to encourage input - a business plan was being worked on and the option of crowdfunding was being explored.

But Mr Abbey said the process of raising the cash was dragging on and the arrival of Alex and Rebecca on the scene had come at the perfect time.

“We knew it would take a long time to raise the money and we always said it would be great if a young couple came along and bought the pub,” said Mr Abbey.

“Alex is already engaging with us and wants the pub to be at the heart of the community, which bodes well for the future.”

The pub’s previous owners had lived in the village for at least the last 50 years and only put the building up for sale after deciding to retire.

Mr Bourne has said he wants to incorporate a village shop into the business and will serve light meals, cheese and cured meats in the evening.

The pub is expected to reopen by the middle of May.