The White Hart Inn Community Benefit Society Ltd is a registered society established for the sole purpose of saving the last pub in the Norfolk village of Foulden for the benefit of the community.
Historical records show that The White Hart Inn was established as a public house in 1836, however, the building is likely to be much older. The pub has served the villagers well until recently, when, after a series of temporary landlords, the pub closed suddenly in March 2019. The incumbent tenant brewery, having been in severe financial difficulty for some years, decided not to reopen the pub and have since relinquished their lease. The White Hart Inn was placed on the market by the owner later that year. In March 2020, and again in August 2020 a prospective purchaser failed in their attempt for planning permission to change the use from a pub with overnight accommodation to a residential property.
Feedback from residents suggested an appetite for the pub to remain open as a village amenity. A group of interested residents set about establishing a community group, The White Hart Inn Community Action Group, to start the process of protecting the pub from sale and subsequent conversion to a residential property, or indeed further development of the site. In July 2020 the action group successfully nominate The White Hart in as an Asset of Community Value with Breckland District Council. The pubs entry on the register provides an opportunity for a community group to establish a right to bid to purchase the property and prevents its sale to anyone other than a community interest group. Around the same time, the planning application for change of use, made by the prospective purchaser, was refused.
The White Hart Inn Community Benefit Society Ltd has submitted an intention to bid to Breckland Council. The society will very shortly initiate a share issue allowing Foulden residents and other interested individuals the opportunity to support the bid and eventually, hopefully, jointly own our village pub. Further details on the prospectus, share issue and other fundraising initiatives will follow shortly.
In the meantime, please follow the group’s facebook page and contact the society for further information.