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East Midlands Chamber News

Castle Rock buys Gedling club

Willowbrook handoverNottingham-based Castle Rock Brewery has bought the premises and business of the long established Willowbrook Club, on Main Road, Gedling.

No details of the deal have been released, but the new owners have undertaken to invest over £200,000 to update the dining, food preparation, bar and toilet areas of the club.

The Willowbrook Club's previous owner, Andrew Lebeter, has been involved with the club for many years, helping out as an 11-year-old when his mother first worked there. In more recent years he has become a director of the business, manager, licensee and friend to the members.

"This will be a wrench for me, but there comes a time to ease off a bit," says Andrew.

"I approached the people at Castle Rock nearly a year ago with the proposition that they take over the Willowbrook, turn it into a community pub, and run the business along the lines of their successful Poppy and Pint pub in Lady Bay.

"The two premises are alike in size, amenity and footfall, and I am confident the Willowbrook pub will not just remain in the hearts of the people of Gedling, but will flourish and bring even more to the local community."

Pete Hopwell has been appointed the pub’s manager and he says his first priority is to keep members informed of the changes and to honour all the festive season bookings.

"Our aim is to close for a few weeks later in the winter to allow a complete refurbishment of the main rooms, toilets and outside areas. We’ll try to keep this disruption to a minimum, and the many clubs and groups based here from the knitting circles to the golfers, alongside the people of Gedling will be welcomed to treat this as their 'local'.

"The Willowbrook has a fine reputation as a well run local club and it has become an important community facility. We all recognise the importance of retaining its charm for the benefit of everyone," he says.

Castle Rock Brewery operates Nottingham's largest real ale brewery and over 20 pubs in Nottingham, the East Midlands and Yorkshire.

Managing director, Colin Wilde, said: "For some years, we've been asked if we’d consider opening a Castle Rock pub in the Gedling area and the Willowbrook stood out as an opportunity that we've been able to grab. We're entranced by its history and we look forward to playing an important part in its future."