Landlord of the Swan in Mattishall blames locals who do not use it for threatened demise of last village pub

The landlord of a village's last pub said locals who were saddened at its closure had only themselves to blame for its threatened demise for not drinking there.

The Swan at Mattishall, near Dereham, called last orders on Tuesday, March 20. Roger Lee said he was unsure if it would reopen and that he was now 'just sitting here waiting to be thrown out'.

Mr Lee, a former cruise ship entertainer who has run the pub for four years, said he had ploughed huge resources into the establishment but with little reward from locals.

He said: '4,500 people live in this village. We could not even top 10pc in two years. If they are not going to support the pub, what else do they expect? That's the bottom line at the end of the day.

'We have done everything you possibly can do to make this a lovely pub. I don't allow bad language and bad behaviour and that's worked because we have a lovely clientele, but there's a lot of people who never, never come in.

'As long as supermarkets are allowed to do what they do, pubs are going to fail. We are left high and dry. That's not through lack of effort. We have put everything we have got into this pub.

'Use the pub and it will not be shut. Don't use it and it will shut.'

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He said he had refurbished the pub and beer garden, spent money on flowers outside, addressed village groups and hosted planning meetings for the Queen's jubilee, but none had helped attract more local trade.

Richard Norton, chairman of Mattishall Parish Council, said the village once had eight pubs.

He said: 'It's disappointing. It's a big village – one of the biggest in Norfolk. It would leave us without a pub at all. It's just a local pub, and the landlord, I know, has been very supportive of the community and looked to get involved in community events.

'It would be good to think it could keep going. They have got darts teams there and have been raising money for charity.'

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