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Rallying call for help issued by Norfolk Barford Cock pub struggling to survive in tough times

Justin Ross, landlord of the Barford Cock.; Photo: Bill Smith

Justin Ross, landlord of the Barford Cock.; Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

A first-time landlord has issued a rallying call for the community to back him - or risk losing the pub for good.

Justin Ross took on a one-year lease with an option to buy at the Barford Cock, west of Norwich, late last year, but after a good start trade has slumped recently.

He said today that if people in the village did not soon return to the pub he might have to shut up shop.

He said: “When I took over people were knocking on the door desperate to come in, but recently for some reason they have deserted us, and you only get a handful of people from the village coming in.

“Before I took on the pub it had been closed for about a year, and there had been an outcry in the village that the pub might not reopen. There were meetings where people were adamant that the pub could not shut down.

“I’m just looking for the community to support the pub now, and for that same kind of community spirit, or else risk losing it for good.”

The Cock, which is privately-owned, has been the only pub in Barford for nearly 50 years, and has attracted customers from well beyond the village since first opening in 1830.

But its recent history has been blighted by the effects of the recession, the smoking ban, and competition from supermarkets selling cheap booze.

Mr Ross, 28, who runs the pub on his own, said the building was redecorated both inside and outside before he reopened it, and it serves all home-grown food.

The Evening News’ Love Your Local campaign aims to encourage people to support their favourite pub by highlighting all that is good about them, including the positive impact they can have on a community.

To see previous stories from the Love Your Local campaign log on to www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.

Is your community fighting to save your local? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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