New Planning Application
Help us stop another attempt to get the pub turned into a house
You might have seen that the current owner of the Blue Bell has applied again to get permission to change the building to residential use.
We've made great progress so far, especially considering the impact of COVID 19. The village has made it very clear that it wants a community pub, we've established a Community Benefit Society, had a full commercial survey of the premises, received our first funding and will soon launch a share offer to secure community ownership. So we are close to ringing the Blue Bell again!
You can help secure the future of the village pub by registering your objection to the change of use here.
You can read the Committee's objection here.
Two pieces of really great news for the Blue Bell!
The owner’s planning appeal was refused!
Many thanks to everyone who put in an objection to the owner’s request to turn the pub into housing. You did it! The Inspector said:
Representations made by the Parish Council and residents of the village describe the value of the public house as a community facility when it was in operation.
A campaign group has been formed with the aim of acquiring the asset. This is clear evidence of the value
of the public house as a community facility.
Because the appeal was to the Planning Inspectorate, their only recourse is to the High Court which is slow and expensive.
2. We got a bursary from the Plunkett Foundation!
Our first application for funding has been successful. The Plunkett Foundation has awarded us £2,500 that will pay for a thorough survey of the pub and will help meet other start-up costs.
This is a real vote of confidence in the Blue Bell from the main national organisation that supports the development of community businesses. It bodes well for our chances of securing much more significant funding as part of the More Than A Pub programme. We are close to being able to submit that application now too.
Stoke Ferry Really Wants a Village Pub and Hub!
Bank Holiday Event sees Huge Turnout
Thank you to everyone who joined in with the Village takeover on Bank Holiday Monday.
Stoke Ferry truly was the Blue Bell for the day.
It was a huge turnout that shows how much we all want to see a real village pub in Stoke Ferry again. One-third of all households responded to our survey back in the spring and there was strong feeling then. Judging from Monday’s event, there’s even more enthusiasm now.
So many of you turned up that we sold out of Bobbin’s Bakes’ delicious cakes, the great Norfolk beers and delicious international wines very quickly.
We are sorry if you missed out, but we are sure you enjoyed the live music from 200 Not Out and the chance to win some of the great raffle prizes.
The great news is that the sale of cakes, wines, beers, teas, coffees and raffle tickets raised £1, 200 on the day. The next day we also received a very generous donation of £100 from FutureDev, a local IT company who support the cause! All this money will be used to help fund the next stages of the campaign to establish the Blue Bell as a community pub and hub.
Winners of the many raffle prizes have all now been contacted, including the winner of the top prize, a night's stay in a luxury Shepherd's Hut with welcome hamper, generously donated by Karon Bennett. A box of brownies has been delivered to the winners of the treasure hunt raffle. The skilful winner of the wine competition – who scored the maximum five marks - will be taking delivery of his case of wines on Saturday.
Your Lockdown Heroes
We asked you to nominate your Lockdown Heroes. Anne Gladstone of Little Lane nominated a neighbour, David Hitchin, who has been helping several Stoke Ferry residents. Anne said:
The man who lives next door to us is a blessing to have as a neighbour. He is always willing to help, not only during lockdown. He has helped us many times. He regularly visits an elderly couple. He shops for them and gives practical help whenever it is needed, day or night. Another person, who lives alone and is very vulnerable, is thankful for his help, with lifts and practical help.
He does all this quietly, without fanfare. He is a good man and his kindness deserves recognition.
We also had a number of requests to thank the Stoke Ferry Volunteer Group. They did an amazing job running errands, shopping, collecting and distributing prescriptions and being there for people to chat to if they felt lonely, and they are continuing for anyone that needs it. So many thanks to Janet, Gemma, Sue, Mandy, Sandra, Eleanor, Anne, Karen, Julia, Eileen, Trudy, and Andrew. They’ll be enjoying a drink on us at the next Blue Bell event.
We are applying for grants and a loan from the Plunkett Foundation to help buy the premises. We also plan to launch a share offer this autumn so that supporters can own their own piece of the pub and ensure it serves the village for years to come.
If you have not already signed up to our newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure that you are kept up to date with the campaign.
Why not join our online whisky tasting on Friday, 18th September at 7pm? We are lucky to have expert Colin Hampden-White (The Three Drinkers) guiding us through a tasting of two very different whiskies from one producer. Find out more.
Our website and Facebook page always have all the latest information.
We must thank Charlotte of Bobbin’s Bakes for her wonderful cakes and generous support, Duration for the wonderful online tour and beer tasting, as well as Norfolk in A Box, Thomas B Bonnett and Didlington Nursery for donating gifts for the Lockdown Heroes.
Thanks also to Kit Hesketh-Harvey for use of the former church, to 200 Not Out for their wonderful music, to the Global Wine Academy for donating the wines that sold so quickly.
Finally, many thanks to Pat and David for loaning the large gazebo from the playing fields.