Villagers toast work to restore The Swan pub in Little Waldingfield following two years of absence
A village is getting ready to raise a glass in celebration as work gets under way on its only pub, where the last pint was pulled more than two years ago – sparking fears it might never reopen.
The Swan in Little Waldingfield has been empty since it was sold in the summer of 2017.
Now a new owner is about to start work renovating the building in the centre of the village.
Justin Nevison-Grainger has bought the pub, which was on the market for around £250,000 and had been listed as an asset of community value. He has been negotiating to buy extra land to make a beer garden.
“The pub had become very run down following years of financial pressure and it no longer fitted the expectations of a village pub,” said Mr Nevison-Grainger.
“It needs major renovation of the roof, exterior and repairs to the interior, including new electrics, plumbing and a beer cellar.
“We will be providing a larger kitchen and building a new dining room, as well as refurbishing and decorating throughout, including the accommodation,” he said.
“The car park is being improved and bike racks will be fitted for cyclists, as the pub is on a busy main cycle route.
“I hope it will be a village local where everyone is welcome to come and enjoy a drink or a meal – on their own, with friends and family and dogs,” he added.
Once the work has been completed, Mr Nevison-Grainger will be offering a long-term lease on The Swan to enable someone to build a business.
As a director of the Nethergate Brewery, he will ensure it offers good local beers and good quality pub food at a range of prices.
“What I am hoping is that The Swan will have a relaxed, larger bar area, casual dining and more formal dining areas, but first and foremost have a welcoming pub atmosphere,” he said.
“I have involved locals and the parish council from the start and they been totally supportive. I want The Swan to be the centre of the community and provide local jobs.”
Mr Nevison-Grainger is also seeking planning permission to build two small bungalows beside the pub to help make it viable.