A CANVEY pub is finally set to reopen.

Former landlord Mark Lester handed over the keys to the Admiral Jellicoe Pub, in High Street, yesterday – three months after his lease came to an end.

The pub, which is owned by brewery Enterprise Inns, was placed under the management of a new leaseholder, Colin Smith, but he has not been able to move in.

The brewery was forced to issue Mr Lester, who has just returned from a trip abroad, with a legal notice New landlord Mr Smith, 47, said: “We have had to wait for the possession of the building as the previous leaseholder did not leave.

“The brewery took the issue down the legal route and had given Mr Lester seven days to hand over the pub. The bailiffs would have had to go in if the situation was not resolved.”

Mr Smith was hoping to open in time for the World Cup kick-off on Thursday, but he has now pushed this back to Saturday, June 21 – when the pub has events booked in.

The Admiral Jellicoe had its fair share of bad luck after a fire tore through its cellar last November, forcing the pub to remain shut for days to undergo repair work.

Enterprise Inns began looking for new leaseholders in December.

Mr Smith is now hoping to give the pub the fresh start it needs.

He added: “The site looks really tired and does need work doing to it.

“The pub is really not in a good state, a lot of repairs are needed, so it is quite frustrating. It is meant to be a long-term project and I will also be moving into the pub.

“This community is in need of a good family-friendly pub and that is what I aim to bring. We want to open and introduce a nice atmosphere for the community.”