Community pub The King’s Arms, Stockland, working hard to raise Food Standards Agency rating

PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 April 2020

The King's  Arms, Stockland. Picture: Cliff Smith

The King's Arms, Stockland. Picture: Cliff Smith


Improvements are being made at The King’s Arms pub in Stockland after it received a zero rating for food hygiene in February.

The Food Standards Agency website lists the pub as a zero grade, with ‘urgent improvement necessary’.

Ben Walker, one of the pub’s three tenants, said the rating had not had anything to do with the standard of food being served at the pub.

“We were mainly marked down on the paperwork,” he said.

Catering establishments are supposed to keep records of information such as fridge temperatures and food allergens, but the chef Richard Benson, also one of the tenants, had been ‘too busy’.

Mr Walker said there had also been a problem with one of the kitchen’s storage preparation areas, and a fault with an extractor fan.

“Since then we have been working closely with the environmental health officer and she has made two more visits,” he said.

He said he expects the pub to receive a higher rating when the coronavirus lockdown is lifted, and an official re-inspection visit can be made.

East Devon District Council ward member, Cllr Cathy Gardner, who is the former parish clerk for Stockland, said: “I’m confident that alongside the new kitchen that was installed at the pub, and the advice and training provided by the environmental health officer, will ensure the staff can bring the hygiene rating right up to where it should be ready for reopening once this crisis is over.”

A spokesman for the district council said: “Our environmental health team is working closely with this community owned pub to improve hygiene and documentation standards, so that the business can achieve a higher hygiene rating.”

The King’s Arms opened under its current tenancy in January this year after a major restoration programme.

The pub had been closed for six years, but local residents raised the money to buy it from the owner and undertook much of the renovation work themselves.

The project was strongly supported by Devon folk music star Steve Knightley, who had been a regular customer of the King’s Arms in the past and had even written some of his songs there.

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