New landlords set to reopen Bressingham pub

A couple who run 11 pubs, bars and hotels in Scotland and the north of England will be reopening a south Norfolk inn this week.

Tony and Stephanie Heavey said they were looking to return the Chequers Inn at Bressingham, near Diss, to the heart of the community following its closure for the last three months.

The couple, who run the Scottish Pub Group, will open their most southerly pub when the 16th century premises reopens its doors on Friday. The Enterprise Inn-owned inn was resurrected last June after it was rebuilt following a devastating thatch fire in 2009.

Mr and Mrs Heavey will reopen the listed inn after its previous tenants left earlier this year.

The new landlords, who live in Norwich, said they were looking forward to welcoming diners and locals back to the pub.

Former landlord Jason Orton will return to the Chequers as head chef after previously working as a chef at the Sibton White Horse, near Saxmundham, which won Suffolk's best dining pub of the year award in 2008 and 2009.

Mr Heavey said they wanted to get involved in the village by hosting carol singing, harvest festivals and regular quizzes. He added that there may be a bit of 'animosity' amongst some former customers because of the closure of the pub, but they were hoping to temp back old customers as well as bringing new custom in.

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'We go along and reopen closed community pubs or failing community pubs and we want the community to have an outlet. We will run it as similar as before and will not be making any drastic changes. The emphasis will be on the restaurant, but I am not adverse to having drinkers in. It is a pub and restaurant. We are here to provide a service for the community.'

'Normally after reopening a pub and getting it up and running to our culture, we normally get a manager in place. But this one we want to take it on and get our teeth into it,' he said.

The pub, off the A1066 between Diss and Thetford, was left gutted in October 2009 as a result of a thatch blaze and Enterprise Inns spent 18 months rebuilding the building.

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