Major makeover to bring new life to pub

FRESH START: Paul Harper at the Waggon and Horses, which is now owned by the Growler Brewery.
FRESH START: Paul Harper at the Waggon and Horses, which is now owned by the Growler Brewery.

A Sudbury pub which was closed for nearly a year has reopened under new owners following a major refurbishment.

The Waggon and Horses in Acton Square welcomed pub goers once again on Saturday night.

The evening marked a dramatic turnaround for the former Greene King pub, which has been taken over by Pentlow-based Growler Brewery after closing in January.

“We have fully redecorated and improved the facilities,” said pub manger Paul Harper. “The windows have been opened up and the whole building is more accessible and brighter.”

The pub’s restaurant has also been extended as part of a drive towards bringing in more customers, the floors levelled to allow wheelchair-friendly access and a glass viewing panel installed over the cellar.

Mr Harper, who previously ran the Hare and Hounds in Braintree for 12 years, said he believed the makeover would draw in beer lovers.

“We think the changes will appeal to more discerning customers and, being a Growler pub, there will be some fantastic cask ales,” said the 44-year-old. “The majority of the food will be homemade, with meals being made from scratch.”

The pub was forced to close despite the best efforts of previous landlord Sam Butler, who ploughed £25,000 into the business.

Money was spent on renovating the bar area and cellar, but Mr Butler claimed changing drinking habits – with many people buying alcohol at supermarkets and staying at home – meant the pub was not generating enough trade to continue.

Mr Harper, who is employing 14 staff, said he had every confidence the business would be a success.

“Hopefully, the trade will develop the way we want it to and we can then look at increasing the number of staff,” he said.

“I am very confident that it will work. People have been very positive about it and are excited.”

Mr Harper, who will live on the premises, said he believed the nine-week refurbishment would pay off.

“We are already taking bookings and the pub fits in nicely in the town,” he said.