Residents fears for future of Sussex village pub

A Sussex village pub which has been shut for the past six months has got local residents fearing for its future.

The White Lion at Thakeham has been closed since the summer and villagers say that no definite re-opening date has been announced.

Some fear that the pub - the only one in the village - might reopen as ‘a restaurant with a licence to sell alcohol.’

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One resident - Rocky Hitchcock - said that villagers realised that lockdowns had played havoc with pub businesses but, he said, “the White Lion was, and should remain, an asset for the whole village of Thakeham.”

The White Lion at Thakeham

Another resident said: “The pub is the true heart of the village and is important for the social wellbeing of local residents.”

The villagers are now calling on local district councillors to determine what is planned for the pub’s future.

The pub itself hit the headlines more than 10 years ago when it was saved from closure after a 16-month campaign.

Residents launched a STOP - Save Thakeham’s Only Pub - campaign when it closed in August 2000 following the death of the then landlord.

It reopened under new owners.

Current owners now are Emma and Johnnie Kennedy, who also own the Black Horse at Amberley.

They say on the Black Horse website that the White Lion “will reopen winter 2022 after a short refurbishment.”

Johnnie Kennedy declined to make any further comment.