The Dukes Head

Update January 2016 

Things are moving frustratingly slowly but here is a summary of what has happened so far and what the next steps might be in the bid to save the Duke’s Head.

As previously reported, we received really positive feedback from the survey of residents of Coddenham and its outskirts.  This enabled us to take the next step - arranging a viewing.  However, we were met with our first knock back when the agents told us that the pub was no longer for sale and that they were not in a position to give us access or any further information.  This was extremely disheartening and left us more than a little demotivated.

Just before Christmas, the owner made contact, asking if we would meet to discuss a possible sale.  We finally arranged a viewing of the property with the owner; a builder and a local resident with knowledge of commercial property valuations and sales.  We also invited a potentially interested private purchaser from Debenham whose previous attempts to arrange a viewing had also been thwarted.

We found the condition of the property better than we had envisaged but were no further forward as to what price the owners were expecting to achieve.

We are now trying to arrange a second viewing with the owner to gain a more accurate idea of renovation work and cost.   This will put us in a better position to negotiate a realistic purchase price.  Any offer would of course also take into consideration the fact that the property is a commercial building with no business or goodwill and without potential, at least for the foreseeable future, for redevelopment.   Once we are better informed and hopefully able to assess the viability of taking the next step, we would then, depending on the outcome, either:

-           arrange a public meeting to ascertain financial and practical commitment from local residents and/or

-           set up a legally constituted group in order to make a formal offer OR

-          Abandon the idea altogether.

Timing is paramount in that once the owners have notified Mid Suffolk District Council of their intention to sell, we have 6 weeks in which to submit an ‘expression of interest in bidding’.  As an interested group of people, and not a formally constituted Community Interest Group, we would not be able to make this expression therefore the Parish Council has agreed to make this expression on our behalf.  This does NOT commit them to following it through – it is merely and ‘expression of interest’.  We then have the remainder of 6 months in which to make a formal offer and negotiate purchase with the owners and raise funding. The owners would not be obliged to accept our offer but could not conclude a sale on the open market during this six month period.

Look out for further up-dates here and in 6V News.

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The Dukes Head has closed and and has been registered as an Asset Of Comunity Value. ( http://www.midsuffolk.gov.uk/assets/UploadsMSDC/Communities/MSDC-List-of-Assets-of-Community-Value.pdf )

Despite the positive outcome of the village survey as outlined in the October 2015 edition of the 6 Village News, things are no longer looking quite so good.

We have since contacted Fleurets to arrange access to the pub to assess the extent of renovation and repair with a view to starting negotiations regarding purchase or leasing.   However, we were informed by them that the sale is now “on hold”.

We can only assume therefore that nothing further can be done to acquire the Duke’s Head as a Community Pub at this stage unless the owner has a change of heart.  We also don’t think there is need for a public meeting unless there are any changes that warrant having one.

Do watch this space – just in case!