Debenham: New landlady is “positive” after changes made to The Angel pub

The Angel in Debenham.

The Angel in Debenham. - Credit: Archant

A new landlady at a pub which was criticised for downsizing has said the reception has been better than expected.

The owners of Debenham’s The Angel, Nick and Stacey Paine, had said they had to make changes to the pub because of “market conditions” and the costs of running the establishment.

Pat Hercus, 64, has now been in charge of the day-to-day running of the pub for the past few weeks.

She said: “It’s doing well, better than I thought. More people are coming into the pub and beer sales are going well. I did retire back in July last year but I was approached and offered this opportunity and I thought I would give it a whirl.”

Mrs Hercus has been in the industry for 40 years and previously ran The Woolpack pub for seven years in the village.

She added: “I can only say that people have been very positive about the whole situation and people are using the pub.

“Pubs are important – we do not want to lose any more.”

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She added that she thought that the two pubs currently open in the village, The Angel and The Woolpack, were enough to serve the community.

Debenham parish councillor Gina Helm, 42, said: “The pub seems to be quite popular actually. I have been down a couple of times and when I pass it seems to be quite full. Pubs are about places for the community to come together.”

She added that she thought the pub had lost “a bit of character” with the changes.

The pub, which can cater for 30 diners, closed in February to allow Mr and Mrs Paine time to talk to Mid Suffolk District Council about saving it.

A ‘Save the Debenham Angel’ website was quickly created and people took to the village’s website to comment on the pub’s future.

About 35 people attended a heated parish council meeting in March to hear what the owner’s planned to do.

Some villages wanted to write into the district council to protest at the couple’s plans to downsize which have meant the pub’s floor space has been reduced by about six square metres.

Comments on the village website ranged from positive support to outright opposition for the plans.

Mr and Mrs Paine had said they both “cared deeply” for their work but had been hurt by some of the comments made and had contemplated closing the venue. Mrs Hercus has applied for a music licence for the pub, which is open everyday except Mondays.