WATCH: See inside Suffolk's newest pub
PUBLISHED: 15:13 14 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:18 14 October 2018
This is Suffolk’s newest pub - and punters are already packing into the watering hole to get their first glimpse of the venue.
Landlords Paul and Julie Summers opened the new Railway Tavern, next to Saxmundham railway station, on Friday, October 12.
The pair faced a petition when applying for a licence to take over the Albion Street venue from neighbours concerned about anti-social behaviour when it was under different management as the Cooper’s Dip.
But by taking steps such as installing CCTV, banning glassware outside and not staging live music, they believe residents are now supportive of their vision to create a family friendly watering hole.
They believe its opening weekend has vindicated their efforts so far, with the pair saying the venue was “rammed” as punters watched the England v Croatia game on its 57in and 42in televisions.
The watering hole was also busy throughout its first Saturday and the pair expected more customers for upcoming football matches, with the pub boasting a Sky Sports subscription.
Mr Summers, a veteran of the pub trade who has run venues in Ipswich for many years, now promises to “do the basics right” to keep bringing customers back.
He has pledged to put his “heart and soul” into making it a success, with he and Mrs Summers spending thousands of pounds refitting the site.
“We’ve run pubs before and we enjoyed it,” the 49-year-old said.
“It’s a lot of hard work but we get along with people so well.
“This way we have got our own pub, with our own takings and we can control what happens inside and do the things our customers want.
“We can spread our wings a bit and do a bit more, especially for the community.”
Mr Summers said he wants to create good atmosphere and is starting darts and pools teams, with the goal of competing against others in Saxmundham.
Mr and Mrs Summers also plan to open the pub earlier in the morning so residents can come in, socialise and have a coffee.
“It’s about getting people to tell us what they want,” he said.
“If it’s legal and we can do it, we’ll try and do it - and that was they’ll keep coming and this place will be a hub.”
History of pub site
The previous Cooper’s Dip pub had its licence suspended by Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) in February this year following an alleged disturbance inside the premises.
Neighbours organised a petition when Mr Summers applied for a licence to run the pub, citing “drinking and smoking outside the front and the noise of customers leaving the premises” under its previous management.
However Elizabeth Holdings, which owns the pub, told a SCDC licensing and health sub-committee hearing that it “understood the concerns but was of the opinion that the issues could be addressed through good management”.
Minutes from that meeting, on August 6 this year, also recorded that “the applicant was seeking to install a tenant of a proven nature” in Mr Summers and that police had not objected to the granting of a new licence.
Mr Summers plans to run the pub for the next 25 years – but said: “We’ve got to build the reputation.”
He added: “I absolutely love the pub trade and I know I can give Saxmundham the pub it deserves.”