THE young publican who resurrected a village inn – attracting customers from around the country – says he is heartbroken to have to call time on the venture.
Scott Standen was one of the youngest licensees in the country when he took on the Stag Inn, in Rackenford, a year ago.
Scott put local ales behind the bar and built a formidable reputation for good food which saw the pub win glowing reviews.
Locals greeted the opening of the pub with open arms, and combined with trade from visitors, the inn's future looked secure.
But the owner of the building, Kate Palmer, is understood to want to redevelop the inn for housing, and has not renewed the lease.
Mr Standen said Saturday will be the last day of trading.
He is opening a pub in Basingstoke, Hampshire, and is in negotiations with Enterprise Inns in relation to the Twyford Inn, in Bampton Street, Tiverton.
"I am absolutely heartbroken at having to shut," he said.
"I have worked so hard to turn this pub around and as well as fantastic local support we get regular visitors from Tiverton, Barnstaple and further afield because of our good reviews on the Tripadvisor site.
"I'd love to keep it going but the landlord didn't want to know. I think it's a great shame for the village and suspect the pub will lie empty long after we've left."
Mr Standen, who paid more than £30,000 for a year's lease on the inn, said the plan was to do away with the pub's skittle alley as part of the redevelopment.
Rackenford Parish Council chairman Sarah Child said she doubted planning permission would be granted for housing.
"Certainly there would be huge opposition to any change of use," she said.
"The current occupiers have done a marvellous job and the pub is very well thought of."
Mrs Palmer was not available for comment.