The Izaak Walton Inn (the mid-19th Century pub/restaurant on Cresswell Lane by the Cresswell railway crossing) has had an up and down history for a decade – before finally closing for good…
Here we look back on the last few years.
Back on the market and at auction on June 1st.
It is hoped that the memorabilia from the Izaak (regulars will remember the old photos that used to line the walls, the old fish weather-vane etc etc) might be saved for the village.
2019 – RIP
Izaak’s status as a pub is overturned.
In December 2019, an application for ‘change of use’ was submitted – see SMD/2019/0752. The application was to turn the pub into a private dwelling, and it was approved.
It looks like the decision to let the pub run down turned to the benefit of the former owners. Once a pub has ‘no appeal’ for its community or potential pub managers, planning permission for change of use is much easier.
Draycott village council chose not to defend this historic community asset. Their position was that they’d be quite happy to see the pub closed and altered (see Draycott Council official comments).
2017 / 2018 / 2019… Closed.
Managers Rob and Lucy leave in June 2017.
The owners (Fleurets) had put it up for sale since January 2017, having previously been marketed in 2012 and 2014.
They say they did get five offers to reopen it as a pub – but refused them all – before selling it in November 2019 to new owners, who will re-develop it into a home if they can get permission.
March 2016 [open for over a year]
Izaak is opened again in early 2016 – under new management. Rob Shaw and Lucy Gibson, a young couple, make a real go of the business, getting good reviews.
But they too cannot sustain the business. In June 2017, a notice is suddenly posted on the pub door saying “Closed until further notice” and a week later, the pub is back on the market again.
2015 [open for two months only]
February: Izaak closed again
2014 [open for nine months]
The pub re-opened in March 2014, now newly owned by the Mornington Pub Co, and under a new manager, Kathy Morton, who, though a local girl, had run pubs successfully all across the country.
Before opening, the pub was given a £120,000 facelift.
Kathy stayed seven months, and then was replaced by another Mornington-appointed manager, Del, in October 2014.
2013 was a bad year
As the pub came out of 2012, it seemed to have found some new stability with new landlord Richard Graves, after a topsy-turvy 2012.
But Richard left in January 2013, and the pub was closed – to remain ‘dark’ for fifteen months.
History pre 2012
As everyone will know, The Izaak had had a chequered history even before that.
Its thatch-roof burnt off in 2003, causing a temporary closure, but its reputation as a home of good food recovered in the years up to 2010 under the partnership of Anthony (Lockett) and Wayne (Mendes).
It was even in the Top Ten Best Restaurants of North Staffordshire 2006 (as drawn up by Sentinel food critic Alan Cookman).
But, after Anthony & Wayne departed some years ago, it’s been an open-and-then-shut situation, and some bad reviews didn’t help.
But, it’s a great pub, and there are records of it as a hostelry going back 150 years, though it might well be older than that.
What’s more, if anyone is a fan of fly-fishing, you’ll be in Heaven in the bar, which has lots of memorabilia about fishing – including a copy of ‘The Compleat Angler’ (which was written by Izaak Walton himself of course) which is dated 1795.
There have been a few managers since the beginning of 2012: Zandy & Karen, then Jean Claude and then Neil, and John & Trisha of course.
To be honest, we feel that the large corporations that own so many pubs now don’t always give their tenants a fair crack of the whip. Let’s hope that Criterion, which owns the pub at the moment (December 2013), do give the present tenant a chance to succeed.
We’d like to see the pub make its 200th anniversary in 2050. Crossed fingers…
*To comment on this item, just use the comments box below