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Shock and disappointment as historic pub forced to close at short notice

PUBLISHED: 08:47 18 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:21 18 October 2017

The Buck pub at Thorpe St andrew is due to close. Landlord Russell Evans, centre, pictured with staff members and customers.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Buck pub at Thorpe St andrew is due to close. Landlord Russell Evans, centre, pictured with staff members and customers. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

The operators of a riverside pub have been left “annoyed, frustrated and confused” at the venue owner’s decision to shut it down at short notice.

The Buck pub at Thorpe St andrew is due to close. Manager Joanna Dale, left, and barmaid Sharon Sutton.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The Buck pub at Thorpe St andrew is due to close. Manager Joanna Dale, left, and barmaid Sharon Sutton. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Buck Inn in Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew will open for a final time on Sunday, October 22, under its current operators, Russell Evans and John Linford.

But a spokesman for Ei Group, formerly Enterprise Inns, which owns the pub, said the venue would re-open “as soon as possible”.

Mr Evans said 10 people would lose their jobs because of the closure.

He said: “They (Ei Group) have done nothing illegal. We’ve run the pub for the past three years on a tenancy at will agreement, which means either party can terminate the agreement at quite short notice.

The Buck pub at Thorpe St andrew is due to close. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The Buck pub at Thorpe St andrew is due to close. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“But on Friday they said they wanted to close the pub with a week’s notice, and we can’t find out why.

“It just seems unnecessary. The customers wanted it and the staff had jobs.”

Mr Evans said they now had to cancel bookings for Christmas and birthday parties at The Buck, which sits by the River Yare.

Eli Chamberlain, pub patron and nearby resident, said the closure would be sad. She said: “I’m seethingly nervous about what’s going to happen and no communication has been offered at all. I’m going to miss the place terribly. I find it so comfortable and easy to come in here.”

The Buck pub at Thorpe St andrew is due to close. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The Buck pub at Thorpe St andrew is due to close. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Nick McLaughain, another fan of The Buck who lives nearby, said: “Since it re-opened three years ago it’s gone from strength to strength and it’s become a huge part of the local community. It’s a true independent pub and the whole community are in shock about this.”

And another pubgoer, Roland Coomber, said: “It’s such a shame. This is one of the genuine community pubs.”

An Ei Group spokesman said: “We have acted in accordance with the terms of the tenancy at will agreement set out at the start of the contract and given notice to our publican at The Buck Inn, Thorpe.

“We would like to reassure the local community that we aim to have the site reopened as soon as possible, with a new operator.”

Ei Group is the largest pub company in the UK with around 5,000 properties.

The Buck Inn is a Grade II listed building which dates from the 12th century.

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