Village could reopen at last

By James HoreAN award-winning village pub could reopen tonight after it was taken over by a new company.Inn2gether took over the running of Ye Olde Cherry Tree in Little Oakley from the retiring landlord, but caused dismay among villagers when it closed the pub earlier this year.

By James Hore

AN award-winning village pub could reopen tonight after it was taken over by a new company.

Inn2gether took over the running of Ye Olde Cherry Tree in Little Oakley from the retiring landlord, but caused dismay among villagers when it closed the pub earlier this year.

The firm claimed trade was poor, but then made an about-turn and said it would reopen for business, but only if residents supported the pub.


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However, Haven Hotels has now taken over the pub from Inn2gether and pledged to return the business to its award-winning ways.

Mike Haslam, the firm's southern area manager, said yesterday he was awaiting the first delivery of ale and would open as soon as it had settled in the casks.

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“We are hoping to have five different real ales all the time and we are going to be trying to use a lot of microbreweries and there are no plans for wholesale changes,” he added.

“It is a lovely pub and our first priority is to get it up and running, but it was a great food pub as well, so we will be looking to continue that.”

The takeover has been welcomed by villagers who have seen the closure of Little Oakley's school, post office and shop in the past few years, leaving the pub as the central point of the community.

Peter Goodwin, a villagers and member of the Campaign for Real Ale, said he was “hopefully optimistic” for the future.

“The conversation I have had with the new people has been positive, but it has been two months since the pub was open and it has been cold and damp,” he added.

“This is so important for the village, so many places die when they lose all their amenities and it is important that does not happen here.”

Tom Howard, a parish councillor, added: “Speaking personally, I can say that I was annoyed by the way that Inn2gether closed the pub down.

“I welcome the introduction of Haven Hotels into the picture and I am encouraged by their initial words and actions.

“I look forward to Ye Olde Cherry Tree being reopened by Haven and hope that it will once again take its rightful mantle as a pub that is renowned for its real ale and good food throughout the district.”

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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