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New owner reveals plans to transform pub which was closed for 10 years

PUBLISHED: 10:03 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:56 11 March 2020

The owner of a once thriving pub which has been closed for the last decade has revealed plans to convert the building, pictured here in 2001. Photo: Bill Darnell

The owner of a once thriving pub which has been closed for the last decade has revealed plans to convert the building, pictured here in 2001. Photo: Bill Darnell

The owner of a once thriving pub which has been closed for the last decade has revealed plans to convert the building.

To the delight of many residents, who have been desperate to see the site restored, the building will soon reopen. Photo: Kieran LynchTo the delight of many residents, who have been desperate to see the site restored, the building will soon reopen. Photo: Kieran Lynch

A historic town centre hotel, the former King's Head Hotel in Bungay, Suffolk is set for a new lease of life as renovation work has begun.

At the end of February the pub was finally bought by a hotelier, who will bring to life plans suggested four years ago when the building was acquired through a £500,000 legacy from late resident Harry Smith, who bought the estate for the town's benefit.

To the delight of many residents, who have been desperate to see the site restored, the building will soon reopen as a hotel, wedding venue, bar and restaurant.

The new owner is Paul Thornton, managing director of Beccles-based VC Cooke, a trade based metal and recycling service for local businesses.

With VC Cooke skips already seen working on site, local businessman Paul Thornton revealed his plans for the business. Photo: Kieran LynchWith VC Cooke skips already seen working on site, local businessman Paul Thornton revealed his plans for the business. Photo: Kieran Lynch

With VC Cooke skips already seen working on site, Mr Thornton revealed his plans for the business.

'It will be a quality wedding venue, and there doesn't seem to be a great deal of those around,' he said.

'And a bar and restaurant - a good quality one for the town is also in demand. We'll serve drinks but pubs need food to survive these days, and we will serve simple, traditional pub grub.'

READ MORE: Castle and museum unite for major Bungay heritage project

Mr Thornton owns another pub he renovated, by the same name, in Essex.

'It seemed to work before,' he joked.

He added while renovation has started, 'there's at least a year's work to do', as structural changes to the inside of the building are worked on by an architect.

'Unfortunately there's none of the original features left, we made a start and took things out, and we have builders going in to sort the roof out and expose the bare brick walls again, then we will start the internal work.'

He added: 'Rome wasn't built in a day.'

When the building does re-open, customers can expect hotel rooms, a new bar and kitchen, and possibly even a microbrewery in garage space out the back, 'but there are some other ideas, and some things have to stay a surprise'.

'Just watch this space,' Mr Thornton said.


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