Brewery wants to turn former Brentwood restaurant back into pub

A spot in Brentwood High Street could become a pub again after a gap of 20 years during which a popular restaurant chain operated from there.

The Hertford Brewery has applied to Brentwood Council to operate where Prezzo stood before closing earlier this year.

The restaurant chain took over the Grade II listed site where The Hobgoblin operated until its closure in 2003.

The Hertford Brewery want to open between 10am and 11pm Sunday to Thursday and between 10am and 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. The opening hours would match The Merchant, adjacent.

If given permission to open the company says the new pub would employ approximately 10 full-time and 15 part-time staff in a range of positions.

An application has been sought from the council for a change of use from a restaurant back to a pub.

A statement as part of the application said: “The premises are currently vacant but have huge potential to contribute positively to Brentwood town centre.

“As a listed building, it is crucial that the property receives the investment it needs to ensure its longevity and usefulness, as well as providing the type of quality experience that customers expect.

“The application proposals will support economic growth by making a significant financial investment to bring the premises back into gainful use and reinstate long-established food and drink premises, thereby creating new employment opportunities. As well as providing local employment, the pub will provide a valued community meeting place.”

The company says it would return the modern façade to the original brickwork. Three awnings are proposed along the shopfront to provide protection to the planned pavement seating underneath.

The statement added: “The proposal is to convert the premises back into public house use which was the established use before the most recent restaurant use. The town centre location is ideal for a public house use and should be considered acceptable in principle.”

Prezzo announced in April it was to shut almost half its restaurants due to soaring costs and changes to customer habits. The Prezzo in Brentwood was among 46 of the company’s restaurants that closed where the company said the “post-Covid recovery has proved harder than we hoped.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter