The Lamarsh lion Community Pub is situated 4 miles from Sudbury in the beautiful Stour valley on the Essex/Suffolk border.
There has been a pub, inn or staging post on the site since 1305 and it is said that the artists, Gainsborough and Constable, who were born and painted in the Stour valley, patronised it during their youth, leading to its nickname the Painters’ Pub. Lamarsh is the only parish in which both these artists painted, and in the bar there are photographs of landscapes they both painted in Lamarsh.
The previous owners, of the Lamarsh Lion closed the pub in May 2016 and applied for change of use for housing. They also wanted to use the land behind the pub for development. After over 120 objections, it was withdrawn two days before the planning committee meeting. The Lamarsh Lion Community Benefit Society was then formed and sold shares to people who wanted to save the pub and after numerous delays finally acquired the pub on 31st July 2017.
Although it was structurally sound, the Lion was in the most appalling state. Thanks to generous grants all of the essential work that had to be done – rebuilding, sourcing materials and getting the pub in shape – was completed by volunteers to re-open the doors to the public in June 2018.
The committee were aware that they needed to diversify for the pub to survive so a meeting was then initiated with the Pub is The Hub adviser and the decision was made to create a café and games room. A grant from Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund helped towards the overall cost.
The new facilities offer a much-needed meeting place for locals and the wider community to socialise and, because of the ease of access, the more elderly and immobile use the café alongside young mums, dads and their children, with the games room attracting the younger generation.
The success of the café is driving more visits from young families coming to the pub and, with a further grant from Pub is The Hub it has enabled them to create a safe secure children’s play area adjacent to the café.
The facilities at the Lamarsh Lion have made this community asset more viable and strengthened the resolve of the villagers and wider community to preserve the pub so that the improved services are a lasting legacy.
These developments will support social interaction assisting the welfare and helping to combat isolation in this rural location. The Lion is used by all age groups and attracts many walkers and runners as well as cyclists, motorists, shooting parties, customers with families and dogs and, of course locals, making the Lamarsh Lion the hub of the community.
|Total cost of café, games room and play area||£17,858|
|Pub is The Hub Community Services Grant||£6,000|