Mystery surrounds pub closure after landlord's sudden departure

MYSTERY surrounds the shock closure of a pub weeks into a 'five star' revamp.

Saturday, 20th February 2016, 1:00 pm
Photo Neil Cross Martyn Driscoll at the Anchor in Hutton, pictured when he took over the pub in February 2015

Locals have been stunned to find the doors of the Anchor Inn at Hutton locked this week and the place in darkness.

Landlord Martyn Driscoll, who only unveiled plans to the Evening Post for a swish £38,000 overhaul of the ladies’ toilets a month ago, confirmed the pub had shut.

But he declined to discuss his future at the pub, or explain what had derailed his grand plan to give the inn an expensive new lease of life.

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Last night brewers Greene King revealed they were now looking for a new licencee after what they described as Martyn’s “decision to leave.”

Along with the brewery, Martyn and partner Liam Wilson were reported to have sunk a total of £90,000 into refurbishing the Anchor on Liverpool Road, Hutton.

“It’s like a five-star hotel,” he said as work went on to revitalise the tired old pub. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it to see people’s reactions. No other pubs around here are done to this standard and this will put the Anchor back on the map.”

Liam added: “It feels like we’ve saved the pub and, although it’s been really tiring, the locals make it all worthwhile.”

But customers were shocked when the pub failed to open earlier this week, sparking speculation about a disagreement between Martyn and the brewery.

A Greene King spokesperson told the Evening Post: “The Anchor Inn is temporarily closed following our licensee’s decision to leave and we apologise for any inconvenience this causes. We are actively recruiting new licensees to take over the pub and look forward to welcoming guests back as soon as possible.”

The ambitious plans for the Anchor, unveiled in October, included new carpets, booths, high-end fittings, and a new beer draft system costing £17,000. A side bar which had remained unusued for eight years was done up and reopened as a sports bar, with artifical grass on the floor and eight TV screens. Work had also begun on converting an upstairs flat into a function room.