Community pub finally reopens after £20k revamp during lockdown
PUBLISHED: 06:30 26 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:41 26 September 2020
When lockdown hit in March and pubs across the country were forced to close their doors, Peter Ford knew exactly how he was going to spend his time with no customers.
Like many others, the landlord of The Railway in Wymondham had no idea how long the shutdown would last, but took the opportunity to work on some long-awaited upgrades to the watering hole – inside and out.
It reopened for the first time in six months on Wednesday, September 16, with plenty of customers piling in to take in the new-look pub.
Mr Ford, who has run The Railway for 16 years, said he had been waiting for the right opportunity to make the upgrades, with the venue “getting a bit old fashioned and tired around the edges”.
He said: “We had a bar down the stairs at the bottom of the pub which we wanted to take out and put in a seating area, but it’s such a big job to do when you’re open seven days a week, so it gave us a chance to do that.
“The bar was pretty much redundant as hardly anyone used it so we’re making much better use of the space now.
“We also pulled the carpet up to put some wood effect flooring down, totally repainted the whole pub and spruced up a lot of the outside areas too, with extra seating across the three areas outside.”
More than £20,000 was spent on the refurbishment at a time when there was no income with the pub closed during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
The project was delayed at first with demand for DIY products and the closure of hardware stores contributing to long waiting times for materials to be delivered.
But Mr Ford and many others at the pub did much of the work themselves to keep costs down, only hiring professionals for technical parts like laying the new flooring.
In addition to permanent changes made, some temporary measures have also been put in place such as plastic screens between some tables to keep customers safer.
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“It’s been a labour of love but we’ve had so much positive feedback from customers, which helps make it worth it,” he said. “The biggest thing we’ve had compliments on is being Covid-19 compliant.
“We were a bit concerned with everything that not many people would turn up on the first day, but we were really busy. We’re amazed to see how many people are actually coming out to see us.”
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