New Buckenham pub reopens
New life has been breathed into a south Norfolk village as one of its two closed pubs has reopened following a major refurbishment.
The George pub in New Buckenham, near Attleborough, which has been renamed The Inn on the Green, began to welcome back customers three weeks ago.
Over the last five months, the dated interior of the large Victorian building has been ripped out to make way for a bright and clean decor transforming the once tired-looking pub into a modern drinking and dining venue.
New owner David Francis, who also runs The Gamekeeper pub in nearby Old Buckenham, has created new separate dining and bar areas dotted with antique furniture and attention has been paid to reinstating the pub's original features such as its open fire places.
Its bar, kitchen and toilets have also been revamped, while work continues on creating three en-suite guest rooms upstairs which should be ready by Easter.
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Plans are also in hand to extend a rear patio to create an outdoor seating area in time for the warmer months.
Residents were left devastated when the historic building was finally boarded up in spring having been closed on-and-off since September last year.
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It followed the closure of The King's Head pub, in neighbouring Market Place, which remains up for sale.
Mr Francis, who lives near the Market Cross, said the opening of The Inn on the Green, along with a new grocery store in King Street, had rejuvenated the village.
'With the steel shutters up on this place and the shop closed, it really was a dead village,' he said.
'I think the villagers are glad we're here. I've had a lot of nice responses. People can not believe the transformation from what it was.'
He added that the biggest challenge was making sure the pub offered something different from The Gamekeeper, which along with his partner Julie Derges, her son and chef Matthew Derges and fellow chef Sophie Lewis, he has run for three and a half years.
'The Gamekeeper is 400-years-old and is a listed building so there is not much we can do with it. But we've been able to gut this and almost start again. We've tried to make this more modern and more updated with real good pub food,' he said.
Mr Francis said the team will continue to oversee the running of the two pubs.