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Pub near Norwich reopens after £250,000 revamp

PUBLISHED: 15:20 12 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:05 13 November 2018

The Chestnut Tree, on Reepham Road in Hellesdon. Photo: Ei Publican Partnerships

The Chestnut Tree, on Reepham Road in Hellesdon. Photo: Ei Publican Partnerships

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A Norfolk pub which was closed for more than 18 months has reopened after a £250,000 revamp.

The Chestnut Tree, on Reepham Road in Hellesdon. Photo: Ei Publican PartnershipsThe Chestnut Tree, on Reepham Road in Hellesdon. Photo: Ei Publican Partnerships

The Chestnut Tree - previously known as The Bull - on Reepham Road has opened after the work, having been taken over by publican Gemma Burwood.

She also runs The Oak Tree, on Ipswich Road in the city, and has set up company Burwood Inns, with plans to grow her pub portfolio.

The revamp of the pub, which is run by Ei Publican Partnerships, included decoration inside and out, creation of a new porch, new signs, installation of a disabled toilet and an upgraded kitchen and cellar.

Ms Burwood said: “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from local people, thanking us for bringing something back for the community.

“It’s hugely rewarding to take a pub like this and use the experience and knowledge gained from many years in the industry, along with Ei Publican Partnerships’ ongoing support, to turn it around and make it popular and successful again.

“I’ve a real passion for it, and I try to make sure that passion makes its way through to my team, not just here, but The Oak Tree, too.”

She said she had been looking at the pub, on and off, for about 10 years.

MORE: Hellesdon pub on the brink of reopening - with a new name

“Having the one pub, I felt confident I could take on a second,” she said. “It was either be comfortable with one, or push myself and take on more. I’ve now got ambitions to grow further, and the potential is there to take on number three.”

The pub has had a turbulent history, with a string of closures over the last few years.

It last closed in February 2017, less than a year after the previous landlord took over, and there were also closures in 2011 and 2014.

When the name change was revealed, chairman of Hellesdon Parish Council Shelagh Gurney said they intended to launch a campaign to preserve The Bull.

Adam Cogan, regional manager for Ei, said: “Already having one pub with us meant we were confident Gemma could do a similar job at The Chestnut Tree, and she certainly has. We are happy to work with publicans that match our ambition and drive to make a site successful and Gemma’s enthusiasm is infectious.

“When she’s ready to add to her portfolio, Ei Publican Partnerships will only be too happy to help support Gemma in making a success of pub number three and beyond.”

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