New tenants at King's Arms, Stockland, expect to reopen pub in January
PUBLISHED: 14:40 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:02 13 November 2019
Stockland's village pub, which was bought by the community after closing down, is a major step closer to opening its doors again.
A three-man team of tenants - including a mystery chef/restaurateur - have been chosen for The King's Arms, and are due to sign an initial five-year lease on or by Friday, November 29.
They expect to reopen the pub in mid-January.
The King's Arms closed in 2013 following a period of decline, but local residents refused to accept its loss.
They formed a community benefit society and spent six years raising the money to buy the building.
They took possession earlier this year, and have been working hard to restore and renovate the pub, which had fallen into disrepair.
The new tenants are Ben Walker, Tony Reps, and another man described on the Stockland Community Pub Ltd website as 'a successful local chef/restaurateur, whose name we cannot disclose at this point for reasons of commercial confidentiality'.
The trio have set up a Facebook page and posted:
"Please feel free to give us suggestions of anything you feel you would like to see us serve at the pub, and we'll try to make it happen.
"We have lots of lovely local food suppliers, which we already have relationships with and we're currently meeting with breweries about drinks, so please tell us your favourites.
"We're all very excited to get the pub open and can't wait to start meeting everyone."
The announcement of the new tenants on the Stockland Community Pub Ltd website explains that they are proposing to make further improvements in addition to the work already carried out by volunteers and contractors.
They said: "This will bring the building to turn-key readiness for opening day, which should be in mid-January 2020.
"The management committee had hoped that the pub would be open for Christmas. However, there are very good reasons for going for mid-January.
"The new tenant team are committed to giving all customers a great experience from day one, and therefore want to ensure they are properly prepared before opening the pub.
"The fitting out works they wish to carry out, and difficulties in recruiting and training staff in the run-up to the busy Christmas period, are factors influencing the choice of opening day."