Tenant buys Red Lion pub at Needham, near Harleston

A landlord said he was looking forward to making further improvements to a south Norfolk pub after buying it from a national company.

Michael Massey has been running the Red Lion at Needham, near Harleston, as a leaseholder for more than three years. However, the 36-year-old said he was looking forward to putting his stamp on the place after purchasing the listed building, off High Road, from Enterprise Inns.

The change of ownership has enabled Mr Massey to change the beer he serves to the Grain Brewery, based at nearby Alburgh. He added that he planned to make a few alterations to the bar and introduce a new children's play area in the garden.

'It is good to know I can do what I want with it. It gives us free rein with our beer, which is the main thing. I like to support local businesses and the Grain Brewery is five minutes down the road and everyone likes the beer.'

Mr Massey, who took over the running of the Red Lion in December 2008, has been in the pub industry all of his working life and runs the pub with his parents Sue and Joe.

He added that the hosting of two Harley Davidson bike shows over the last two years had convinced him that the pub was going to be a success. He added that the support of the village and local residents was also played a big factor in his decision to buy the site.

'When you see the trade there and the people there, you know it is a good business and we can carry on with it. This village and Harleston are brilliant. Everyone knows each other and there is a good community spirit .

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'A lot of pubs emphasise the food side, but not the community spirit and pubs should be the hub for the community,' he said.

The Red Lion was sold for an undisclosed sum through national business agents, Christie + Co, which has assisted in the sale of the Needham pub on four occasions since 2005.

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