A LANDMARK pub has closed – prompting fears it could be turned into flats.

Graham Martin, landlord of the Rising Sun pub, at Sun Corner, Billericay, pulled his last pint on Sunday night.

He is retiring and will be moving to Suffolk once he finished removing fixtures and fittings from the building where he has lived and worked for the past 33 years.

The pub is due to change hands tomorrow, but the identity of the building’s new owner remains a mystery.

It was put on the market for £650,000 last month and Upminster-based Dove Architects has been asked to draw up plans to redevelop the site, at the end of Billericay High Street.

When contacted by the Echo, a spokesman at the company’s office said the man in charge of the project was on holiday, so no details could be revealed.

However, the uncertainly has been enough to make Billercay West borough councillor Phil Turner fear the site will be redeveloped for housing.

Mr Turner, who is also Tory leader of Basildon Council, said: “I did ask the council’s officers to look into whether we could buy the site, but we just didn’t have the money. I think we would have been too late anyway, as it seems a deal was done a while ago.

“Because the Rising Sun has been there so long, it is a landmark in Billericay.

“Unfortunately, it looks as if it could now go to make way for flats.

“Like everyone else in Billericay, I would be sad to see it go and think we should do all we can to try to preserve it.”

Landlord Mr Martin told the Echo he also had no idea who had bought the pub.

He said: “All I know is the pub seems to have been bought by an individual, rather than a big development firm, but I have no idea what plans they have in mind for it.

“Our last day was very emotional for a lot of our regulars.

“We have been here for such a long time.”