Peterborough village pub to be re-energised by homes development

Exeter Arms pub at Helpston
Exeter Arms pub at Helpston

An historic village pub - once a go-to destination for food and drink lovers - is to get a new lease of life, five years after the last pint was pulled there.

But last orders has definitely been called at the Exeter Arms in Church Lane, Helpston, with the pretty, stone built Grade 2 Listed Building set to be converted to a luxury five-bedroom house.

The development of the site is to be carried out by Beeson Wright, one of the companies operated by well-known Peterborough businessman and entrepreneur Neville Wright.

In addition to the conversion of the pub - which externally would change little - the adjacent barn, once the pub’s functions room, will be converted to a three-bedroomed house, and three more four-bedroomed houses will be built in the grounds.

The site was sold last year by the John Clare Trust, which in turn had bought it from Enterprise Inns some years previously.

The pub was recognised as a watering hole for poet Clare, who was born in the village, in the 19th century.

The Trust still owns the Clare family home - John Clare Cottage - next to The Bluebell pub in Woodgate, in the village.

The Cottage has been restored, using traditional building methods, to create a centre where people can learn about John Clare, his works, how rural people lived in the early 19th century and also gain an understanding of the environment.

The proposals have the support of the parish council and heritage officers, and Mr Wright said: “We are giving the site a new life, re-energising it for the next 100 years, so the activities that the pub created will carry on in a different way that’s more conducive for the site today.

“The pub has been empty for quite a few years and people have tried to make a go of it, but times have changed.

“There are a lot of memories in the place and this development will bring this particular corner of the village back to life.

“Rather than destroying an old pub we are enhancing what is there for people to enjoy in years to come.”