Historic Skegby pub saved from development after popular businessman steps in

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The Rifle Volunteer has been given a new lease of life after a planning application to convert it to retail was refused – thanks to its saviour Mathew Shinto.

46-year-old Mathew was originally pipped to the post by Coventry-based firm SK (Newhall) Ltd, but the owners reached out to him after planning to convert the building on Forest Road to a shop and takeaway was refused.

Mathew, owner of the New Cross pub in Sutton, says they offered him the opportunity to take it on himself, and he was ‘delighted’ to accept the challenge, especially after residents launched a campaign to ‘save our pub’.

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Mr Shinto has given the pub a makeover and worked hard to reopen on December 20.

The Rifle Volunteer reopens in Sutton In Ashfield. Owner Mathew Shinto.The Rifle Volunteer reopens in Sutton In Ashfield. Owner Mathew Shinto.
The Rifle Volunteer reopens in Sutton In Ashfield. Owner Mathew Shinto.

He explained: “I was disappointed when I didn’t get the pub, so I was delighted when the owners approached me about taking it on.

"We had a lot of work to do as the pub had been empty for a while, but we got it up and running in time for Christmas.

"Our regulars were very happy the pub had been saved, especially as it has such history.”

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The building dates back to 1845 and is where locals signed up to join the Army during the Second World War.

Landlady Cheryl Claydon.Landlady Cheryl Claydon.
Landlady Cheryl Claydon.

Mathew does, however, want to reassure his New Cross regulars that he is not deserting them.

"It has taken a lot of hard work and long days to get the pub up and running, especially when we were short-staffed, but everyone pulled together and I have a great team including Cheryl as landlady who will be running it for me," he continued.

"The New Cross was a big project too and took a lot of work to turn it around – it is still very much mine and is extremely important to me.”

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Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, said: “I am so pleased the Rifle is back open.

"The people of Skegby ran a fantastic campaign to keep this venue as a pub and Mathew is a fantastic landlord.

“Mathew and the team have worked their socks off and local people are keeping the place busy.

"Please keep it up – pubs need us to go in them and this is a great asset for the community”.

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