The Stag Inn, West Acre

Another community pub!

West Acre Estate are establishing 1970 acres of re-wilded land along 10km of the River Nar in the heart of Norfolk. The aim is to improve biodiversity by taking woodland and arable land out of managed cultivation and establishing connected wildlife corridors rather than islands. They are also introducing permissive footpaths, by-ways and cycle paths to open up access to the wider landscape.

The Stag Inn sits in the village of West Acre, in the Nar Valley Way and close to the Peddars Way. The estate have taken the pub back into management in-house, with the aim of creating a reliable community pub, selling beer and food to locals and visitors.

We have helped the estate with Phase 1 – opening up the heart of the pub, creating larger spaces and cosy nooks – while avoiding losing the sense of local Norfolk pub (this is no gastro pub – despite the wild meat). A potential Phase 2 is subject of  a current planning application to provide additional bedrooms to support the economic case for a small local pub. This includes additional bedroom spaces in a neighbouring building.

The council considered earlier proposals for a local shop, café and artist’s studios, ‘inappropriate’ and in an ‘unsustainable location’. We and our client believed that the proposals could have reinvigorated the village heart, fostering community through small scale economic activity. We are hopeful that as the success of the community pub is now established, this view of small rural villages (historically centres of commerce and trade) can be challenged.