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Growing concern over state of historic pub as search for landlord continues

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:07 03 November 2019

The Ei owned Kings Head in Hethersett has been closed for four months. Photo: Archant

The Ei owned Kings Head in Hethersett has been closed for four months. Photo: Archant

Archant

Concerns are growing over the future of a village pub, which villagers claim has fallen into disrepair since it closed four months ago.

The Kings Head in Hethersett has stood empty since its landlords stepped down in June.

The pub, which is owned by national pub chain the Ei Group, is currently being advertised to potential lease holders via the chain's website, at a guide rental price of £39,500 per annum.

However, many in the village said they were growing concerned over the state of the pub, which they claim has deteriorated since it closed.

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Peter Steward, who runs the online magazine the Hethersett Herald, said he had been monitoring the state of the pub for the past three months, and was disappointed with the lack of work the pub chain had put into maintaining the historic building.

He said: "This is an historic pub that could be a huge community asset if handled in the correct way. I have watched the weeds grow and the paintwork flake. If Ei were serious about finding new tenants I cannot understand why they wouldn't at least keep things tidy. It may say it's a good business opportunity but I am seriously worried about its future as a pub."

Richard Dixon, the pub protection officer for the Norwich and Norfolk branch of CAMRA, said he visited the Kings Head the day before it closed, and was impressed by its large beer garden.

He said: "It's harder for pubs to reopen once they close. Leaving the pub in a poor condition won't help the search for a landlord, because it will obviously influence what they see. They need to tempt someone to take it on. The parish needs to stick together and show support, both to show prospective tenants there is a demand and to remind Ei that people want it to remain open."

When Ei was asked what steps it was taking to find a new tenant it declined to comment, but a spokesman said the company was committed to "ensuring the site remains an attractive and thriving pub at the heart of the local community".

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