Riverside mill pub and restaurant closes suddenly

PUBLISHED: 08:45 03 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:51 03 September 2020

Sculthorpe Mill pub, restaurant and B&B is currently closed. Greene King has it up for rent. Pic: Sculthorpe Mill

Sculthorpe Mill pub, restaurant and B&B is currently closed. Greene King has it up for rent. Pic: Sculthorpe Mill


A pub, restaurant and B&B at a historic watermill in Norfolk has closed down because of the “ongoing financial uncertainty”.

Sculthorpe Mill, photographed in 1963. Pic: Archant librarySculthorpe Mill, photographed in 1963. Pic: Archant library

Ian Parkin, who currently leases Sculthorpe Mill, near Fakenham, posted an emotional message on social media saying he was leaving “as a result of a tough last winter, lockdown, followed by Covid market uncertainty”.

He said the necessary reduction of indoor capacity and “financial pressures going forward on what will be a very long next winter” had resulted in the decision to leave. He also cited the cancellation of the annual Thursford Christmas show, which brought extra trade to the pub, as a reason for his exit.

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The pub, on Lynn Road, Sculthorpe, which also has rooms to let, is owned by Bury St Edmunds-based brewer Greene King, which confirmed the tenant had decided to leave. It is now advertising it for rent on a five-year term for £50,000 a year – £962 a week. But until a new tenant can be found, the pub will have to remain closed.

Mr Parkin stated on social media and the pub’s website: “I’m very sad to announce that I’ve had to make the hard decision to leave beautiful Sculthorpe Mill. I would like to thank all guests and local regulars for their visits and support over my time here and loyal staff for all their help, hard work and fun as part of the team. The food, experience and service reviews speak for themselves.”

The pub reopened in July after being closed in lockdown. Greene King is now advertising it for rent as “a former working water mill surrounded by flowing streams with large landscaped gardens and open fields”.

A Greene King spokesman said: “It’s just a temporary closure while we find another tenant. We are looking to reopen Sculthorpe Mill as soon as possible. We were naturally disappointed to learn of Ian’s decision to leave Sculthorpe Mill but would like to thank him for his time running the pub and wish him well for the future.”

The pub has a restaurant on two floors and six bedrooms on the second floor. “Clever marketing to capture the imagination of the thriving tourist trade is this area will be required to take the mill to new heights and this should be a central part of your business plan,” states Greene King in the details.

The pub, which also offers accommodation for the tenant including a double bedroom, lounge, kitchen, bathroom and office, has a forecasted turnover of £519,849 and profit for the operator of £48,291 but the entry costs are £48,400.

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