New landlord hopes to restore Dereham pub’s fortunes
A threatened Dereham pub has been saved from possible redevelopment by a publican who hopes to restore its former fortunes.
The Coachmakers Arms, In Norwich Road, closed after the departure of former landlord Paul Amos in January, amid scathing criticism of the building's previous owner, Enterprise Inns. Tenant manager Mr Amos said he had trebled the takings in six months and was furious when he discovered the firm was pushing ahead with plans to sell the building, forcing him to leave his position.
His departure prompted fears that the pub could be sold for development or alternative uses after another Enterprise pub – the Cherry Tree, in Theatre Street – was sold to a restaurateur the previous month. But now the Coachmakers has been reopened by Graham Carter, pictured, who has secured the lease from the new, private owner. The 53-year-old landlord ran the Victoria Inn at Hockering for 10 years and said his independence from large national franchises meant he would invest his own money and control his own pricing to encourage the pub's rejuvenation.
'It was bought with the intention of keeping it as a pub, and that is exactly what I am going to do,' said Mr Carter. 'I kept seeing pubs shut and it is not a nice sight. We want to keep them going, but people need to come in and use them: it is no good just moaning when they are sold.
'I own the lease, so it is my business. I can decide what the prices are and I will be investing my own money to make it work, because this is a great pub with a lot of potential. Mr Carter said he hoped to establish pool and darts teams, stage live music once a month and introduce a food menu as soon as possible.