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Wincanton Pub set to reopen as dedicated sports bar

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: December 13, 2012

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A PUB in Wincanton which closed days after a recent assault and was put up for sale could reopen in time for Christmas.

The Red Lion, off Market Place, was closed three weeks ago following the incident – to which police were called.

However, after a buyer came forward, the pub looks set to be transformed into Wincanton’s only dedicated sports bar.

It is hoped the doors will open to sports fans within the next two weeks.

Paul Wrigglesworth, who also runs The Boutique nightclub, in Honiton, Devon, said: “We are trying to open it before Christmas.

“I think it has got great potential.

“We are trying to establish something completely different in the town.

“There is no point trying to compete with the various food outlets which are all over the place.

“I have got the keys and I am now just waiting for everything to go through before it opens.”

The pub closed suddenly in the light of the assault on Thursday, November 22.

After a group of men was asked to leave the pub at around 9pm, one struck a 30-year-old in the face, knocking him to the floor.

PC Andrew Brown commented: “Incidents like this in Wincanton are rare.

“The town is a safe place to live and work.”

Former manager Alistair Bain ran the pub for two years, but said he made the decision to shut its doors after an increase in competition.

He said: “The Red Lion was empty for two years before I got it up and running.

“It was good fun but hard work, especially considering the current economic climate.

“The main reason why I left was because when I started here, there were only two or three places that did food.

“However, a lot of pubs in the town have decided to do it, and the opening of The Wagtail was the final straw.

“A lot of people used to turn off the A303 and come into the town but now they just choose between going to Morrisons or The Wagtail.

“The amount of traffic passing through Wincanton has completely tailed off.

“There are so many new food premises that have opened and it was getting hard to run a viable business.”

Mr Bain now hopes to expand his chilli sauce business, which he currently operates from The Hunter’s Lodge Inn, Leigh Common, near Wincanton.

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