A HISTORIC pub is finally set to re-open after a devastating fire and a last-minute lockdown scuppered its plans.

The Bull Inn, in Main Road, Hockley will open its doors to the public on Monday as the coronavirus lockdown is lifted for pubs.

READ MORE: South Essex pub bosses admit concerns ahead of reopening 

The pub, originally built in the 16th Century, was poised to open in March to great fanfare after months of painstaking renovations following a blaze in August 2018.

However, the re-build had to stay under wraps because the Government announced the Covid-19 lockdown.

Now finally, regulars will get to see their pub transformed.

Steve Playle, general manager for the Bull in Hockley, said: “After the fire in 2018 and the tremendous amount of work that went into rebuilding the pub, we were obviously devastated when we couldn’t re-open as we had planned in March.

“We’re really excited to finally open our doors so the local community can enjoy the pub in all its glory, but of course it’s not going to be the grand reopening we’d have hoped to have.

“However, safety must come first and our customers can be assured by our Pub Safe promises, which are there to protect both them and our team, and we hope they will still enjoy the pub they know and love with the social distancing measures we have in place.”

The pub announced it would start taking bookings for up to six people this week ahead of the opening.

It is also looking for staff to cope with an expected influx.

The Bull Inn in Hockley is a Grade II listed country pub and parts of its historic timber frame date back to the 16th century.

The fire, which started in the early hours of the morning, destroyed the pub’s roof.

Neighbours served up tea and coffee to firefighters who battled through intense heat to tackle the flames for hours.

A well inside the pub remains a feature of the newly-decorated interior.

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Regulars took to the pub’s Facebook page to show their delight at doors opening again.

Michelle Smart said: “Can’t wait. This weather better hold out for the warm summer evenings in your garden, having a good old catch up with everyone.

“Good times ahead.”

Sam Booth added: “This is the best news!

“And what a lovely beer garden you have for people to enjoy this summer and feel safe in.”

Pubs will need to have a number of measures in place including safe social distancing for customers and sanitising facilities.