WATCH: VR walk-through shows what pub could look like after £150,000 refurbishment
PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 December 2019
A virtual reality (VR) walk-through shows what an endangered pub could look like following a £150,000 redevelopment.
The Swan in Gressenhall closed in July last year, leaving the village without a much-valued asset.
With the pub under threat of being turned into housing, local volunteers formed Gressenhall Community Enterprise (GCE) and embarked on a mission to buy the pub and bring it under community ownership.
The group is set to launch a crowdfunding campaign allowing people to buy a stake in the pub and, last month, it revealed artist's impressions showing what the pub's exterior may look like in future.
Now GCE has unveiled VR walk-through footage created by Paul Coleman from ElementUV, offering a guided tour of the bar and restaurant area.
Alex Begg, chairman of GCE, said: "The virtual reality experience seen through a headset allows people to be a part of the vision of what the pub can become following some vital investment.
"Reaction and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we see this as an application with real potential for a community business to engage and excite its supporters.
"Successful community pub projects can take a few years from idea to opening and we want to keep the community actively involved when it seems like progress is slow."
Reasons for The Swan's closure last summer became clear when its owner, Alastair Simpson, subsequently submitted a planning application to demolish it and build four new homes.
Despite the proposal being rejected by Breckland Council's planning committee, GCE was formed by a group of residents horrified at the prospect of losing the village's only pub.
Their ongoing campaign has gone from strength to strength and, last month, it beat competition from across the UK to win the Plunkett Foundation's 'one to watch' award which recognises groundbreaking community projects.
Having been given a flavour of the project's end-goal, Donna Chessum - a keen supporter from the village - said: "It's a really immersive experience looking around a pub that seems familiar but also completely transformed.
"This has really brought the project to life - let's hope we can get there."