New lease of life for closed 17th century Michelin pub

Anchor Inn, Sutton Gault near Ely, could re-open. 

Anchor Inn, Sutton Gault near Ely, could re-open. - Credit: Agent

A new lease of life is promised for a pub/restaurant that closed on December 30, 2019 - blaming “huge business rates, no bank support and cheap chains ruining independents”. 

Carlene Bunten, owner of the Anchor Inn at Sutton Gault near Ely, announced the closure with “a sad and heavy heart” after buying it 13 years earlier off an asking price of £700,000. 

Now an application has been made to East Cambridgeshire District Council for change of use at the 17th century Anchor, which sits alongside the New Bedford River 

If planners agree an application from Yi-Chun Loraine Tung it will be transformed into a café/guesthouse and public house. 

A marketing report prepared by agents show that the pub was first offered for sale for £440,000 before it was later reduced to offers of around £350,000. 

It was on the market for 14 months and although 1,242 expressed an interest, it never sold at the asking price.  

Mrs Tung has now offered a “flexible use” proposal which her agent says will “adapt in accordance with market demand”. 

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Her agent told the council that “once implemented the proposed uses can be used interchangeably without the need for any physical alterations to the building’s fabric”. 

The Anchor Inn is not listed or curtilage listed but deemed to be a non-designated heritage asset. 

Mrs Tung promises that with “associated alterations and infrastructure, it will bring a new business to Sutton whilst rejuvenating the building. 

“Which should in turn help to boost the economy of the local area and wider district”.  

The agent says local reaction has “been positive” and supportive. 

Mrs Tung hopes to “exploit opportunities for the use of sustainable modes of transport, including giving priority to pedestrian and cycle movements and public transport.  

“The proposed location is well served by cycle and walking routes. The site is on several publicised walking routes in the area, attracting a wide variety of visitors throughout every season to enjoy the wildlife, nature and views in the area.”. 

The Anchor was reputedly built in the 1650s as a shelter for workers digging clay from the river. 

At one stage the 75-cover restaurant held an AA rosette and was listed in both the Michelin guide and the Good Food Guide.