Saffron Walden: Historic town centre pub re-opens after £600,000 refurbishment

PUBLISHED: 13:57 07 June 2012

The bar area

The bar area

Mark Cocksedge

THE re-opening of one of Saffron Walden's most historic buildings took place on Saturday.

The 850-year-old Cross Keys Hotel was closed for two months for a £600,000 restoration programme and since mid-May had been hosting lunchtime and evening sessions for invited guests as part of the pre-opening preparations.

Around 750 guests attended the sessions, which allowed them to sample the food and drink on offer and view the six letting bedrooms.

Chris Gerard, founder of pub group Innventure, which runs the Cross Keys, said the sessions had “gone very well”. He added: “The feedback we’ve had from people has been excellent and many of them said it is just what Saffron Walden needed.

“The guests really liked the way the Cross Keys has been restored and a lot of people commented that it was great to see the building back to its former glory after being unloved for a number of years. They also liked the bedrooms, which retain the historic character of the building, but have a contemporary feel with modern-day conveniences such as espresso coffee machines, ipod docks and internet access.”

The restoration work included a shop that traded for many years under the names of Molly’s Sweet shop and then Molly’s Candy shop. This has now been renamed as Molly’s Coffee and Cake Shop, which opened for business on Saturday, just four hours before the Cross Keys re-opened officially.

Molly’s and the Cross Keys are run as a single business, which has created a total of 27 new full and part-time jobs. General manager Alison Oliver said she was particularly pleased that most of the jobs had gone to local young people.

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