New owner for Eye’s last pub

The new owner of the last pub in Eye says she wants to put it at the heart of the town and make it suitable 'for everybody'.

The north Suffolk town once boasted 22 pubs, but now has just one – the Queen's Head, in Cross Street.

But a new era is beckoning after Tessa Prior exchanged contracts with Enterprise Inns on Christmas Eve.

Although intending to keep the Queen's Head as a pub for drinking rather than food, Mrs Prior, who has lived near Eye for 30 years, is planning to close the site on February 1 for between four to six weeks to redecorate and breathe new life into the listed property.

She said: 'It's a departure from what I normally do. It's such a lovely building and the last pub in Eye, but it's so tired and dirty.

'It needs a bit of TLC – that's my plan, to close it and completely decorate it and clean it up.'

'As the last pub in town it has to be for everybody.'

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Mrs Prior runs a food business in Suffolk and also co-owns a safari lodge in Zambia.

She said: 'One of the things I have noticed is an enormous amount of enthusiasm in the town – everybody seems prepared to help.

'Eye is also a tourist destination for visitors to mid Suffolk and tourists like to go to pubs and have a drink and a bite to eat.'

Mrs Prior added she would be employing a new landlord to run the pub, which will be stocking beer made by Suffolk brewers Adnams.

She also explained that light lunches would be prepared once the kitchen is sorted out, but that the pub would be keeping its pool table and would not be turned into a restaurant, as had been suggested.