Country pub 'will remain open'

OWNERS of an idyllic country pub have hit back at fears they intend to close it down after current managers leave.Local residents had feared pub owner Inn2gether was about to shut the award winning Ye Olde Cherry Tree in Little Oakley, near Harwich, when the landlords Robert and Jan Watson leave next week.

OWNERS of an idyllic country pub have hit back at fears they intend to close it down after current managers leave.

Local residents had feared pub owner Inn2gether was about to shut the award winning Ye Olde Cherry Tree in Little Oakley, near Harwich, when the landlords Robert and Jan Watson leave next week.

Harwich MP Ivan Henderson received so many letters from concerned regulars about the future of the pub, which has won awards from the Colchester and North Essex Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), he wrote to Inn2together to ask their intentions.

In his letter to the company he said: "There is great concern, both in Little Oakley itself and also in the wider community, as to the immediate future of this historic pub which is at the very heart of village life."


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Peter Goodwin, a local resident interested in the case and CAMRA member, said: "There are still many questions to be answered. For starters it has not been clarified as to how long the pub will be closed for."

The Labour MP is still waiting for a reply to his letter but yesterday a company spokesman played down any fears from the community.

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Mike McDougal said: "We are not talking about other pubs, we are talking about the Cherry Tree and that will not be closed down."

He declined to go into any further details about his company's activities, stating "that was not the issue". He said there had been "interest" in the property from a number of potential tenants and he claimed he had yet to receive any contact from Mr Henderson.

Mr Watson would not discuss the reasons behind his departure. "I'm leaving, full-stop," he said.

The Cheshire-based company plans to shut the pub for maintenance work from next Wednesday to repair wind damage.

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