A POPULAR Billericay pub has closed suddenly.

Signs have been put up around the Crown, at the corner of Crown Road, and the High Street, telling customers the business will be shut for the “foreseeable future”.

Spirit pub company, which owns the venue, is looking for a new leaseholder and planning a refurbishment.

Billericay resident Matt Day, 30, of Norsey Road, couldn’t believe the pub had shut when he went to watch Southend United in the playoff final on Saturday night.

He said: “I was very surprised to see the pub closed, it is usually really busy, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.

“I hope it reopens soon as it will be a big loss to the town’s nightlife.”

The closure comes after the Rising Sun pub, at Sun Corner, shut to make way for flats, and the White Hart, in the High Street, closed to become a Turkish restaurant.

Andrew Schrader, Tory councillor for Billericay East, added: “All of the businesses have gone for different reasons.

“I don’t know what has happened with the Crown.

“Most pubs close because they are old-fashioned and no longer financially viable, but the Crown was very modern and always really busy.

“The good thing about Billericay is businesses never stay empty for long, because it’s such a sought-after location.”

Last week, the Echo revealed Seafood and grill restaurant Beluga, adjoining the pub, had closed suddenlyless than eight months after opening.

Chef to the stars Dez Harkness, who co-owned the business with Greg Essex, uncle of former Towie star Joey Essex, cited “leasing issues” for the closure.

The lease on the Crown is being marketed for £45,000 a year. A spokesman for Spirit said: “The landlords are looking for a quality local operator to bring this excellent site back to its full potential.”