Stowmarket: New Wetherspoon pub, The Willow Tree, to create 40 jobs

A NEW �1.7million pub which will open to the public next week will benefit the economy and the wider community by creating 40 jobs, bosses have claimed.

National chain JD Wetherspoon will open The Willow Tree in Stowmarket on Tuesday, January 17.

The company has spent �1.67m re-developing the outlet on the site of the Seamans Building company in Ipswich Street.

Phil Stanyon, 29, pub manager, said: “It will be a typical Wetherspoons concentrating on a high standard of food with an open-plan kitchen with great coffee and real ale.

“We will be trying to work with Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) as we will be supporting local breweries.

“We have had a lot of interest from the public saying that there is a need for the pub. We believe we will fulfil their wishes and be a great place to come to.

“It’s a great building and design, hopefully we will be packed.”

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Photos, local history artwork and information boards relating to the history and characters of the area, will be displayed in the pub. There is also a timber sculpture and wrought iron work feature wall.

Lesley Mayes, chairman of planning for Stowmarket Town Council, said: “I am very pleased with it, the town council looked at it first and I am extremely pleased with the design because it is in a conservation area.

“The building on Ipswich Street had been boarded up for a long time, so anything to keep the town lively and busy is a good thing. Competition is a good thing for the town.”

The new pub will specialise in real ales, serving a wide range of beers, including those from local and regional brewers.

The Willow Tree will be open from 8am until midnight Sunday to Thursday and from 8am until 1am Friday and Saturday. Food will be served throughout the day, until 10pm every day.

John Spitzer, community safety manager for Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “The pub will have a positive impact. They have worked hard to work with local businesses about any issues and I think they will do quite well.

“Anything that can have a positive impact which this will have because of new employment options is good for the whole community.”

The new-look pub will feature one bar as well as a pavement cafe-style area to the front of the premises and a large beer garden to the rear, where smoking will be permitted in a designated area.

The pub name refers to the growing of osiers and the crafts that stemmed from it, which were important trades in Stowmarket - dating back to the 12th century.

The growing of osiers led to the development of the local basket making industry, which thrived in Stowmarket until the early part of the 20th century.