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Bell Hotel shuts again after revamp
OLD Town has lost another pub after the Bell Hotel closed its doors.
The pub, in High Street, only re-opened in November, after being empty for a year.
Following a 14-week refurbishment, new owner and experienced publican Terry Wight took over the pub and told the Adver he had hoped to return it to its former glory.
But just three months later, the pub stands empty once again and a To Let sign has been placed in the window.
Speaking at the time of opening, Terry, 55, who has been in the pub trade for 35 years, said: “The Bell pub has been empty for nearly a year, and it is such a fine building and it was a shame it was just left.
“Real ales is one of our main draws, we have six real ales on at the moment, which will change and because we are not tied to a brewery we can pick beers that we want.
“We also believe that having good value for money is key, it is hard for pubs but we can offer pints from as low as £2.40.
“They are not opening offers either we will try and keep those prices as long as they are not put up by the brewery or taxes go up.”
Sal Marsden, of Salsanativa salsa dance club, held monthly Latin party nights in the upstairs of The Bell, known as Fusion, until she was informed that it had closed this week.
She said: “The Bell had only been open since November – we always used to hold our Latin nights there before it closed for a year.
“When it closed, we moved the party nights in to the town centre, but people don’t always like going out in the town centre and our numbers began to fall.
“When I heard they were opening up again in November I asked if we could go back.
“The upstairs area was then renamed Fusion, which I think it was called years ago, and it was going well.
“It was an ideal venue for us, it was perfect, but I don’t know if people think it is a bit out of the way – people like going out in Wood Street.
“It is a shame because it is another pub that has closed.”
The Bell hit trouble in August 2011 when its licence to sell alcohol was temporarily suspended and its manager at the time stood down after the venue was caught serving alcohol to children.
The licence was suspended for five days with the hotel unable to serve alcohol, put on regulated entertainment, or serve hot food after 11pm.
Shortly after that the pub hit trouble and closed.
But Terry said that locals had been pleased to see the hotel re-open in November.
The following month he was successful in extending the bar’s licence so that it could sell alcohol until midnight from Monday to Thurs-day, 1.30am on Friday and Saturday, and midnight on Sunday, with entertainment permitted until 11pm from Monday to Thursday, 1am on Friday and Saturday, and 11pm on Sunday.