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Stonegate Pub Company buys The Robert Ransome and plans to convert it back to Yates

PUBLISHED: 14:24 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 07:23 13 February 2017

The Robert Ransome pub in Ipswich

The Robert Ransome pub in Ipswich

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A UK pub giant has agreed to buy one of Ipswich's biggest venues, and has plans to take it back to the future.

Stonegate Pub Company has exchanged contracts to purchase The Robert Ransome from J D Wetherspoon.

The firm has exclusively revealed to the Star and EADT that it wants to convert the property to the Yates brand, a return to the name it held almost a decade ago.

A spokeswoman for Stonegate, which already runs more than 50 Yates bars across the country, said: “The switch will involve significant investment soon after the acquisition completes.”

The deal is expected to be finalised in the next four to six weeks.

Until then, the pub, which is located near Tower Ramparts bus station, will remain open and trading as a Wetherspoon outlet.

A spokesman for Wetherspoon said all staff would remain with the pub and its new owner.

Stonegate Pub Company is the UK’s largest independent pub operator, in charge of more than 690 venues.

As well as Yates, it also owns the Slug and Lettuce chain, among others.

Chief Executive Simon Longbottom said: “We have a strong track record in buying and investing in pubs – and the teams within them – enhancing the offer, and enabling them to thrive under our ownership.

“We are big believers in securing the future of high street and community pubs.

“In the meantime it’s a huge welcome to the pub’s team and loyal customers whom we look forward in continuing to serve.”

Wetherspoon put The Robert Ransome on the market in September last year.

At the time, the company said: “Wetherspoon looks at its estate of pubs on a regular basis and makes commercial decisions for the benefit of the company and occasionally some of its pubs are put up for sale.”

It spent £615,000 redeveloping the two-storey pub during a six-week building project when it took over the former Yates Wine Lodge in May 2009.

The venue is located close to The Cricketers pub, also owned by Wetherspoon.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: “We are very pleased that the future of this important venue has been secured as a pub or bar and we are confident it will continue to be a big attraction in the future.”

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