New pub to open beside railway station
- Credit: ANDREW PAPWORTH
The landlord of a new pub set to open by a railway station has promised to put his “heart and soul” into creating a venue the whole community can enjoy.
Pub trade veteran Paul Summers will reopen the former Cooper’s Dip pub in Saxmundham as the Railway Tavern at 11am on Friday, October 12.
The 49-year-old faced a petition when applying for a licence to take over the venue in Albion Street, which voiced fears about anti-social behaviour when the pub was under different management as the Cooper’s Dip.
But by taking steps such as installing CCTV, banning glassware outside and not staging live music, he believes neighbours are now supportive of his vision to create a family friendly watering hole.
“I’m going to put my heart and soul into it and I know I can turn it around,” said Mr Summers, who has worked at several pubs in Ipswich over a long career and will run the Railway Tavern with his 57-year-old wife Julie.
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“I absolutely love the pub trade and I know I can give Saxmundham the pub it deserves.”
The previous Cooper’s Dip pub had its licence suspended by Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) in February this year following an alleged disturbance inside the premises.
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Neighbours organised a petition when Mr Summers applied for a licence to run the pub, citing “drinking and smoking outside the front and the noise of customers leaving the premises” under its previous management.
However Elizabeth Holdings, which owns the pub, told a SCDC licensing and health sub-committee hearing that it “understood the concerns but was of the opinion that the issues could be addressed through good management”.
Minutes from that meeting, on August 6 this year, also recorded that “the applicant was seeking to install a tenant of a proven nature” in Mr Summers and that police had not objected to the granting of a new licence.
Mr Summers plans to run the pub for the next 25 years – but said: “We’ve got to build the reputation.
“We are not having live music, only background music, because of the past and we are putting in CCTV.
“We’re going along the line of a family, community pub.
“We’re going to try and open before 11am so the community can come in and have a coffee and chat with friends.
“I’ve talked with neighbours of the pub either side and they have no problems with the pub whatsoever.”
The pub, which has been refitted from scratch, will not serve food to begin with but will screen football matches on its 57in and 42in televisions, including England’s clash against Croatia on its opening day.
Staff will also organise days out for customers, including to Fakenham Racecourse on October 30, and hold regular darts matches against nearby pubs as a way of sharing custom fairly between them.
“This is going to be Saxmundham’s pub and we’re going to ask the customers what they want,” Mr Summers said.
“The way we look at it, it’s their pub but we run it for them.
“They tell us what they want and if we can do it, we will.”
While it has been renovated, Mr Summers has purposefully allowed customers to walk in so they can ask about its future plans.