Welwyn Garden City pub reopens today three years after inferno

A LANDMARK local is set to reopen today (Monday) – exactly three years after it burned to the ground.

Boarded-up boozer The Chieftain was gutted in a massive fire on the night of February 29, 2008.

But today, at 11am, the Cole Green Lane pub will rise from the ashes and open its doors once more.

The last pint to be pulled in the WGC pub, once known as The Woodman, was in November 2007.

It was then closed down by Hertford-based brewery McMullen and Sons as it was seen as no longer financially viable.

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Just months later flames tore through the building.

The blaze – which fire investigators concluded was of ‘doubtful origin’ – took 17 hours to bring under control.

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Geoff Godding, who campaigned to keep the pub open back in 2007 when it was threatened with closure, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times he was delighted to see it finally reopen.

“I can’t wait. I always had belief, even with the fire, that it would be back again.

“There’s enough locals who will return to the pub and I will be joined by many of those on Monday night for our first pint back in there again.”

The Cowper Road resident, who got a sneak peek at the pub before its official opening added: “It’s looking very smart, very posh and nice.

“However, I don’t think it will be the same type of pub as it was before, it will be a different atmosphere, but there will still be quite a few of the same people who are going to use it. Overall though it’s good news.”

The new �1.4m, 2,000 sq ft pub will be run by Jennie and David Higgins, who have worked for McMullens for more than 10 years.

It features a real log fire in a bid to create a “warm and friendly atmosphere” and the feel of a “true British” pub.

* There is currently no mention of further housing developments to be built on the site, despite previous building applications.

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