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New manager at The Roebuck Inn in Harrietsham could save its reputation

By Rebecca Tuffin

A new manager is improving the name of a village pub which 'had no draught beer for about six weeks'.

Lesley Rogers is now running The Roebuck Inn, brought in by owners Dominion Hospitality to replace previous management.

Mrs Rogers, who lives in Eastbourne but is staying at the pub, is the third manager in a year.

The Roebuck Inn is the only pub in the village
The Roebuck Inn is the only pub in the village

The 51-year-old said: "It is going pretty well. I had barman Gary Oakley helping me at first, but he has now gone back to Eastbourne so it is now just me and a local girl helping."

Despite being new in West Street, it seems Mrs Rogers has made quite an impression on villagers.

Mark Evans of Alexander Road said: "The place has been properly cleaned - the brass taps sparkle and they now have clean glasses. The pipes are all sorted, the beer is good and they even got a pool table last week. It is a massive step forward."

Members of Roebuck Community Action Group. From left to right, Helen Bunyard, Steve Cooke, Peter Bowler, Chris Roots, Jackie Hewitson and John Totman
Members of Roebuck Community Action Group. From left to right, Helen Bunyard, Steve Cooke, Peter Bowler, Chris Roots, Jackie Hewitson and John Totman

Another resident, who asked to not be named, said: "Gary was lovely and so is Lesley. The pub certainly has a better atmosphere."

Previous manager Stan Bull denies the pub being unclean while he was in charge and that there was no draught beer for six weeks. He also said he was dismissed unfairly.

Operations manager at Dominion, Alex Morgan, said all details of their employees are confidential and so no comment can be made.

There are two potential couples lined up for when Mrs Roger's contract ends in five weeks.

Mr Morgan said: "We are in the final stages of interviews and a decision should be made soon."

The grade two listed building, which has 10 rooms for bed and breakfast, is currently up for sale, listed with estate agent Savills at £500,000.

Peter Bowler launched a campaign for villagers to club together and save the pub from developers last June.

But after approaching Savills to arrange a valuation several times, no progress has been made.

Mr Bowler said: "Apparently there is a potential buyer so the vendor will not give us permission to get a valuation of the property meaning we cannot move forward with trying to raise funds.

"The pub has been going down hill, the previous managers had no draught beer for about six weeks - it is not a proper pub if you do not have beer.

"I am worried in the end the company might try and sell it off for something else."

The Roebuck Community Action Group's campaign has now been put on hold until more support is gathered.

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