Troubled pub set to reopen

By David GreenTHE owner of a village pub said it was set to open full-time once more following the arrival of new managers.Customers of The Swan in Worlingworth, near Eye, are anxious over its future following a year-long troubled period that culminated in the dismissal of manager Denise Dickinson.

By David Green

THE owner of a village pub said it was set to open full-time once more following the arrival of new managers.

Customers of The Swan in Worlingworth, near Eye, are anxious over its future following a year-long troubled period that culminated in the dismissal of manager Denise Dickinson.

The pub is owned by Zenden Leisure, of Surrey, which has submitted a plan to build four homes in its grounds and redevelop the site of an adjoining barn to create a new village shop and post office.

The company said the proposed developments will allow it to finance the refurbishment of the centuries-old thatched pub, securing its future.

But the parish council has already voted against the proposal as inappropriate for the site, but the final decision will be taken by Mid Suffolk District Council.

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The Swan has had a series of managers since the departure of tenants in May last year and earlier this month Denise Dickinson, who now lives with her son in Debenham, was sacked after five months as manager for failure to meet sales targets.

Customers said since she left the pub had been closed more often than open. Howard Mendoza, spokesman for Zenden Leisure, said it was set to become fully open once more following the arrival on Thursday of new managers.

He added there was no immediate risk to the pub's future, but it was likely to remain loss-making until the refurbishment took place and the restaurant was extended.

"To finance this we need to go ahead with the proposed development. We can't justify spending money if there is no guarantee of a return on it," said Mr Mendoza.

"If we fail to get planning permission, we may have to try to sell the pub, but the new owner would be in the same position."

Mr Mendoza said Zenden Leisure would not attempt to get permission to turn the pub into a home – the fate of many other pubs in East Anglia. "But we can't keep running it at a loss. Something has got to happen," he warned.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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