THE outgoing landlord of an historic Burton hostelry which had been shrouded in uncertainty has been given the perfect parting gift after it emerged the venue will continue to operate as a pub.
A deal has been struck with an as yet unnamed buyer who is to take over the Old Royal Oak, in Market Place, which has been a fixture of the town for around 500 years, with current owner Punch Taverns confirming that it will continue as a pub.
The venue had been on the market since last summer and with potential buyers showing interest in converting it into flats and business premises, its days as a pub had appeared to be nearing an end.
Landlord Irvin Linstead, who has managed the venue, known for its status as a town centre live music hub, in difficult circumstances over the past 12 months, said he was delighted punters would not be losing their local.
He is moving on having been forced to look elsewhere with the uncertainty that was hanging over the establishment, but says he couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
Mr Linstead said: “I am absolutely delighted. It really is a great pub. It was a diabolical situation.
“ It would have been terrible if it had closed, it is one of the oldest pubs in Burton. If it was to turn into a business or flats it would destroy the character of the area.”
A farewell party featuring live bands is planned at the Market Place venue this weekend as it prepares to enter a new era.
Mr Linstead thanked loyal punters who had continued to back the pub throughout the uncertain period.
He said: “I’ve met some smashing people there and I really will miss them. It’s quite upsetting but I am looking forward to the new challenge.”
A spokesman for Punch Taverns told the Mail: “We can confirm that a deal has been agreed and we are currently in the legal process with a purchaser who intends to keep it as a pub.”