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Eye runs dry as pub closes

PUBLISHED: 19:33 19 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:11 12 July 2010

A NORTH Suffolk market town has been left with a big hole in its community following the sudden closure of its last remaining pub.

Residents in Eye, which once boasted more than 20 drinking establishments, have spoken of their sadness after its last trading pub closed its doors.

A NORTH Suffolk market town has been left with a big hole in its community following the sudden closure of its last remaining pub.

Residents in Eye, which once boasted more than 20 drinking establishments, have spoken of their sadness after its last trading pub closed its doors.

The Queen's Head has served its last pint until a new landlord can be found, leaving the town's population of about 2,000 people with nowhere to drink.

Juliet Johnson, her partner Wayne Burton, and daughter Georgia-May moved to the pub in Cross Street in October with a vision of breathing new life into it.

But the landlady blamed increasing costs, the impact of the recession, and a recent arson attack on a shed at the Queen's Head as factors for shutting the pub last week.

The pub's owner, Enterprise Inns, has pledged to get a new landlord in place “as soon as possible” and insisted that the closure was only “temporary.”

Ms Johnson, 40, a former nurse, thanked the pub's regulars for sticking by them during their brief tenure, but said there were just too many obstacles facing them.

She said the pub had faced the usual problems such as “high rent and high prices” set by owners Enterprise Inns, as well as the ongoing recession. She added that they had not been welcomed by all sections of the community.

“We have had some really lovely locals. I think it probably would have worked, but because it's in a time of recession we didn't have the time to wait. We have lost a lot of money because we paid a lot for the lease. It's been horrific,” she said.

Town mayor Nancy Ford said it was a “shame” that the pub was no longer open and hoped it would be back in business sooner rather than later.

“It's been the only pub for quite a number of years really and I can't say how it's reached that point. It's very much sad news. Eye is a relatively large town and there are a number of people in Eye that don't drive. There are a couple of restaurants but it (the closure) will leave a hole in the heart of the community,” she said.

Lifelong Eye resident Janet Chambers said: “It was bad enough when we got down to one. It's a sad thing to happen.”

Town and district councillor Charles Flatman added: “I remember 10 pubs being here and now we haven't got one at all. I hope there will be a change of heart. It's a crying shame that a town at this time should have no pub at all.”

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