Town's struggling pub trade given boost

Ipswich's struggling pub industry has been given a shot in the arm thanks to an ambitious project aimed at breathing fresh life into our ailing boozers.

Josh Warwick

IPSWICH: Ipswich's struggling pub industry has been given a shot in the arm thanks to an ambitious project aimed at breathing fresh life into our ailing boozers.

Millionaire businessman Richard Cattermole has bought a trio of struggling establishments as part of a major initiative to save the town's drinking trade.

He has purchased the Spread Eagle in Fore Street, The Masons in Victoria Street and the Duke of York in Woodbridge Road, and subsequently leased them to business partners John Flett and Robert Stephenson.

The arrangement allows the pubs to buy their stock from the cheapest source rather than being tied to a brewery - meaning they can keep beer prices down for customers.

The arrangement has allowed lager to be sold for as little as �2.20 a pint and bitter for �2 a pint.

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Mr Flett, who already runs the Dolphin Hotel in Felixstowe, said: “I'm a pub person and I like to buy a pint for a decent price.

“We have decided to buy pubs, renovate them and really turn them around.

“Pubs are often dark and dingy because people can't afford to paint and decorate.”

The 62-year-old and his colleagues are already planning to take on another three Ipswich pubs.

“We are looking around at the moment,” said the former soldier, originally from Liverpool.

“It's important to keep pubs open - they are the meeting place for everything.

“We are losing so many because the breweries are charging landlords so much.”

Does the pub industry have a future? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk