Villagers raise a glass to duo as Blofield pub reopens
PUBLISHED: 09:43 18 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:26 18 April 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
The only pub left in Blofield reopens today after being closed for about 18 months.
The King’s Head was once a popular watering hole thanks to its prominent position at a crossroads in the heart of the village.
But since it closed following the death of landlord Charlie Pugh, in September 2012, fears have been raised that it could suffer the fate of many other pubs, and either be sold for residential development or turned into a supermarket.
However, the pub is now back in business and being run by business partners Tom Garner and James Townend.
Neither have any experience in the pub trade, but Mr Garner said both were locals and knew what people wanted from their pub.
He said: “Hopefully, with us knowing a cross-section of people in the community that will give us an advantage. Enterprise Inns, the owner of the pub, has spent more than £150,000 on the pub, and we’re pleased with what they’ve done. All the toilets have been refurbished and we’ve got all new signage. There’s huge potential here and the feedback has been very positive from locals.”
The pub will be open for drinks from about 5pm today, and then normal times thereafter.
“We’re not starting food yet. We just went to run the bar and get the ball rolling,” Mr Garner added. “I’m a real-ale drinker and Jim’s a cider man.”
The reopening has been welcomed by Steve Briggs, who lives near the pub in Church Road. He was a former regular and helped run the pub quiz for a while in the 1990s, also playing bridge with friends every Thursday.
He said: “The village is quite excited and very delighted to see the pub reopen after such a long time. It was left without a tenant for about 18 months and we did worry it might not have a future.” Until Mr Pugh’s death, public houses had traded in Blofield for nearly 250 years, and the King’s Head was first licensed in 1836 when the population of Blofield was about 1,110 people – today’s population is around 3,400.
A spokesman for Enterprise Inns said: “We would like to invite members of the community to drop by and show their support for their local pub. We look forward to working with the new team and are confident that the site has a great future in their hands.”
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