An Ashfield pub described as ‘good community alcohol’ has announced its reopening under new management following controversy during the first lockdown.
The Staff of Life pub, in West End, Sutton-in-Ashfield, closed in March 2020 when the country first entered national restrictions.
But two months later, the pub was embroiled in controversy, as the site’s former licensees left the company and staff without two months’ pay.
At the time, Ashfield District Council confirmed that the pub had received a business support grant of £ 25,000 to compensate for lost revenue and the ongoing costs of the business.
Nine employees expressed frustration at the situation at the time, before the pub’s parent company confirmed that the licensees had indeed left the company.
Star Pubs and Bars, owner of the site, said it had “been unable to get in touch” with the licensees.
The company then confirmed in August that it was “keen to reopen” the pub once a new licensee was found.
And now the pub has posted on social media to confirm it is reopening this week “under new management.”
A post on the pub’s Facebook page said: “It has been a long time since The Staff of Life was last opened, but after a very difficult week… the doors of The Staff of Life are reopening under new management.
“So please come join [us] and the team here. We will be showing all Euro 2020 matches, especially England on Tuesday night.
“Come join us for a good pint and all the home cooked meals.”
The news of the pub’s temporary closure last summer has caused sadness within the community, with some describing it as having “such a friendly atmosphere”.
Councilor David Hennigan independently represents Sutton Central and New Cross, the district of Ashfield District Council where the pub is based.
Speaking on the announcement of his return to the business, he wished the new licensees good luck as “the phoenix comes out of the flames”.
He said: “This is great news for pub fans in Sutton.
“It has been closed throughout the lockdown and residents have missed out on its contribution to our community.
“This is decent and decent community alcohol and some locals were concerned that, like hundreds of pubs across the country, it would simply not open after the pandemic.
“The hospitality industry has taken a hard hit over the past year and the reopening of the Staff of Life is great for downtown Sutton.
“The council has exciting plans to revive our nightlife economy in Sutton following our successful bid for the Town’s Fund.
“This is only possible by supporting our existing pubs like the Staff of Life. I wish Diane and Neil every success as this phoenix comes out of the flames.”
Commenting on last year’s financial situation, Star Pubs and Bars distanced itself from the actions of the previous licensee.
The company said: “Licensees are independent business people who employ their own staff.
“Neither the former licensee nor his staff were employees of Star Pubs & Bars.”
Nottinghamshire Live has contacted the pub for comment.