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Long Melford’s Swan pub to start fresh chapter under new tenants with aim of re-establishing traditional feel

A village pub will start a fresh chapter this weekend, as its new husband-and-wife tenants aim to re-establish its traditional roots.

The Swan in Long Melford is reopening on Saturday under the stewardship of Gary and Ashley Addison, who took over this month.

The couple are no strangers to the local pub scene, having operated The White Horse in Sudbury – which they will continue to run – for the past eight years.

Ashley Addison will run The Swan alongside her husband, Gary. Picture: Mark Westley
Ashley Addison will run The Swan alongside her husband, Gary. Picture: Mark Westley

Gary explained that their long-term plan had always been to manage two sites, and the opportunity to take on the tenancy at The Swan had arrived at the right time.

He told SuffolkNews their aim for The Swan was to make the setting less formal and more welcoming – although he indicated that any changes would be made gradually.

“I think we’ve proven we can run a pub, as we’ve shown with the popularity of The White Horse,” said Gary. “The next step for us was having a pub with letting rooms.

“We are trying to bring it back to a more traditional pub feeling. We’ve made small changes, but we’re very pragmatic and cautious – nothing happens overnight.

“The previous owner had a different business model, but we want to make it less formal and for people to feel comfortable sitting at the bar to have a drink. We want to deliver a nice, relaxing, welcoming atmosphere.

“We’re optimistic and very passionate, but also cautious, especially in the current climate.”

Gary revealed they intend to split their time between their two pubs, with support from their team of staff.

He added: “The White Horse works because it’s our faces that people see, and that’s what we want to impress on The Swan.

“We’re confident that what we’ve got to start with will work, but it’s obviously going to be a learning curve.”

The Swan is set to reopen on Saturday, with live music in the evening, followed by a roast on Sunday.