Historic Norfolk pub closes two months after reopening following devastating fire

An historic Bressingham pub has closed after the publicans quit just two months after reopening the restored inn, which was destroyed in a devastating fire.

Mystery surrounds the reasons behind the decision by tenants Tony and Stephanie Heavey to leave the Chequers Inn in Low Road, which the couple reopened in July following rebuilding work in the aftermath of a devastating thatch fire in 2009.

The decision could have knock-on effects for community groups which had booked the pub and restaurant for meals and other events.

Mr Heavey, who runs 11 pubs, bars and hotels in Scotland with Scottish Pub Group, pledged in July to put the pub at the heart of the community, adding the couple specialised in reopening closed or failing community pubs and would run the Chequers Inn as it had been prior to the fire.

But a spokesman for pub company Enterprise Inns, which owns the pub, said: 'It is only a temporary closure and we are actively looking to recruit a new publican to reopen the pub as soon as possible. Any bookings will be passed to the new publican in due course.'

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More than 80 firefighters from Norfolk and Suffolk tackled the thatch fire on October 17, 2009 which destroyed the roof and damaged the first floor timber framed walls and 20th century extensions.

The following year Enterprise Inns was given permission to carry out the restoration work, which was delayed in November 2010 when archaeologists uncovered pre-17th century human remains and a cache of American guns and ammunition at the site, including five Browning pistols and a semi-automatic rifle.

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The human remains are set to be reburied within the village, as close to where they were found as possible, on October 10 in a service led by Canon Tony Billett, rector of Diss at 10.30am.

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