Izaak Walton Inn – 2010-2020

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.

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2020

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.

Richard Graves

Richard Graves – landlord and chef at the Izaak Walton

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

5 responses to “Izaak Walton Inn – 2010-2020

  1. Lived in cresswell all my life. this should never be allowed to be made into a private dwelling.
    I used to go in when Mary Winfield had it to buy sweets. It is part of cresswell’s history, and needs to be reopened.
    With all these new housing estates being built, it would thrive again, given time and effort.
    A

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  2. Sad news if it happens, but at least for those who prefer to have a pint in an hostelry known as ‘The Izaak Walton’ there’s also an hotel in Ashbourne named after the writer of one of the world’s first ‘proper’ books on angling.
    Ironically, whilst born in Stafford, he lived in London and retired back to Shallowford – roughly between Stafford and Swynnerton. His Parents and Family had variously been inn/pub keepers, so having a pub named after him is ‘in-keeping’ (sorry!!!) with the pub in Cresswell, and not just because of Walton’s world-famous work on angling.
    This pub’s possible closure, however, is more a comment upon the way most public houses have gone, in an ever-more fiercely competitive market sector which has become increasingly ‘asset-managed’ over the past 25 years/so, and where the best interests of local people and local communities is placed behind market competition and commercial profit ……. and, it has to be said, because of people’s changed and changing social habits, whereby many use town ‘bars’ (not pubs), and others now buy alcohol at supermarkets and socialise at-home …… rather than in pubs and/or social/working men’s clubs, and where even the once-well supported British Legion clubs have dwindled, across the country.
    The answer to ‘saving your Local’ is increasingly for like-minded locals to form a community ‘co-operative pub’ and to save what they see as the heart of their local social life – look on-line for details.
    Cllr Dorian Hancock [Chair of the Co-operative Party Council for Oxfordshire]

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  3. Izaak pub deterioration

    With the state of the Izaak Walton pub deterioration daily, it makes you wonder what sort of infestation might be in there.
    Do the owners intend to reopen it as a pub – or perhaps, demolition and housing is a better prospect for them?

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  4. Izaak Walton decay

    If these property owners own around 800 pubs why are they allowing it to go to rack and ruin? The ivy is growing up the wall at a rate of knots and destroying the brickwork.
    When I arrived here in 1990 it was just a drinkers pub but still in good repair. Its being allowed to go the same way as other places in the area nowadays

    Maureen Myers

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  5. Dear Draycott,
    In December 2012 we made an offer on the Izaak Walton Pub lease. After completing a survey which cost £600, the owners decided to reject our offer – which included repairing the building and was just £4,000 under the rent required.
    The owners are two property owners who own around 800 pubs; they have a management company called Criterion Asset Management who look after all the properties.
    We were born and bred in Stoke-on-Trent; and were looking forward to settling down at the Izaak with our family and hopefully putting the pub back where it belonged as a centre of the community.
    We are now in Cornwall running a pub, and hope the Izaak does not full into complete neglect.
    If anyone is looking to take the pub over they are very welcome to the survey we had done in December last year.
    Kathy and Roger Bishop

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