A village pub which has endured a chequered few years now has new owners.
The Chequers, Maresfield, has been taken over by Suffolk brewery Greene King which, according to a planning application lodged with Wealden District Council, hopes to improve bar and dining facilities.
The business went on the market earlier this year at just under £1million, after a brief period as one of the flagships of Marco Pierre White’s stable of exclusive inns and restaurants. The celebrity chef and his team were also responsible for the makeover of the Rainbow at Cooksbridge, now returned to its former popular pub status.
The Chequers will be part of Greene King’s Old English Inns’ portfolio of historic businesses in England. Another local Old English Inn is The Roebuck at Wych Cross while the group also runs The Station, Uckfield, The Railway, Burgess Hill and The Star, Haywards Heath.
And the company plans to invest in the 18th century, Grade II Listed inn later this year with renovations that, it says, will improve the facilities while ‘ensuring the character and heritage of this much-loved building’ is retained. The inn already offers a selection of pub food and drink including real ales.
The brewery has applied for planning permission to smarten up an area to the right of the inn. Wrought iron gates would be added to the front of a yard by the kitchen. A small tree in the yard would be removed and a close-boarded timber fence and gates which hide bins would be replaced. There would be new trimmed hedges in planter boxes.
Designers The Creative Group say: “The Chequers Inn has long played an integral role in the social and economic life of Maresfield. These proposals reflect our client’s desire to reinforce the building’s position to residents and visitors and recommend the establishment to others, thereby increasing its importance to the local economy.”
They also say the design philosophy is to ‘interfere with the authentic charm that already exists as little as possible but recognises the need for a substantial investment to guarantee its continued commercial viability’.
The application has been recommended for approval by members of Maresfield Parish Council’s planning committee which met on Monday night where members said they support local business and welcome the scheme.
Brewers Greene King met with a shock in Lewes when they removed Harvey’s beers from the bar at the Lewes Arms and attempted to replace them with their own ales. After a town stand-off, the local brew was re-instated.