Villagers fear future if pub fails to reopen

Melton borough councillor Leigh Higgins outside The Fox Inn at Thorpe Satchville and villagers who want to see it reopen as a viable business EMN-170322-145520001

Melton borough councillor Leigh Higgins outside The Fox Inn at Thorpe Satchville and villagers who want to see it reopen as a viable business EMN-170322-145520001

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Residents say their village will die unless its vacant pub is reopened as a viable business.

Melton planners have twice revoked proposals to change the use of The Fox Inn at Thorpe Satchville.

And villagers say they are desperate to see it become once again the vibrant community hub it served as for generations.

Caroline Baker remembers the pub being regularly busy with lots of footfall from residents and surrounding villagers, as well as hikers and bikers.

She said: “We want to be a village which grows organically and survives into the next century.

“The pub is hugely important, because if we lose the pub there will never be another one built.

“We need to see a viable business on that site or we will become a totally unsustainable village.”

The pub, which is thought to date back to the 1930s, closed in October 2014 because of a shortage of customers.

But, villagers say it will thrive if it includes modern day elements, such as a cafe or a restaurant.

Parish councillor Mick Jones said community events were held in the village hall on a monthly basis but it wasn’t the same as having a pub available for day-to-day interaction of residents.

He said: “We’ve seen how somewhere like Thussington can support a thriving business at the village shop and we should be able to do so as well.

“We are a relatively old village and we need to attract more young people and a pub is one way of doing it.”

Melton borough councillor Leigh Higgins, who is responsible for Somerby ward, which includes Thorpe Satchville, wants to see villagers meet with the property owners and other stakeholders to come up with ideas for a viable business on the site.

He said: “If the application had succeeded it would have condemned Thorpe Satchville to be classed as wholly unsustainable which would not only impact the future prospects of the village, but the residents and our neighbouring villages.

“With the right business model the Fox Inn has shown it has been able to succeed on a regional level and also financially. Through good management we’ve seen the resurgence of other pubs in the area and the Fox Inn should be no different.”