Norfolk Broads pub reopens

A popular Norfolk Broads pub has re-opened in time for the holiday season - bucking a depressing recent trend of closures.

A popular Broadside pub has re-opened in time for the holiday season - bucking a depressing recent trend of closures.

While the doors of the Pleasure Boat Inn at Hickling and Ferry Inn at Horning, among others, remain closed, The Maltsters, at Ranworth, near Yarmouth, has been given a new lease of life by Broads fan Kevin Hunt.

London-born Mr Hunt, 63, and his partner Alice Goddard-Coote, 20, jumped at the chance of moving into the picturesque village to take over the Broads, owned by national chain Punch Taverns, which has been shut since the previous landlord left in the autumn.

Mr Hunt owned a 23ft Mayfly yacht and sailed on the Broads over many years, but this is his first business venture in the area, having previously run pubs around Ipswich and a hotel in the Midlands.

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He said: 'This pub is really vital to the holidaymakers on boats and there is a good, loyal local trade as well. We have had incredible support from all our customers.'

He admitted there were issues with the tied system, which meant they had to pay �90 to Punch Taverns for nine gallons of popular Wherry bitter, when free houses could buy it for less than �60 direct from Woodfordes.

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However, he still feels there can be a buoyant future for Broadland pubs and suggested a number of failures might be down to a lack of experience by the landlords.

He said: 'It takes about �1,300 a week to run this pub, taking into account rent and business rates, but it is very much a seasonal business with most trade coming during four to five months.'

Mr Hunt said until they could invest heavily in a new kitchen over the winter they were only able to provide 'simple pub grub', but their mantra was 'better open than shut'.

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