Village pub building spared from developers after being sold to local Northampton couple - but it will not reopen

The King William IV - also known as The King Billy - was closed in December 2016.

The King William IV - also known as The King Billy - was closed in December 2016.

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A pub in Northampton will become a private house after it was sold earlier this month.

The King William IV - known to as 'The King Billy' - in Green End, Kingsthorpe, struggled for patrons for several years.

Owners Enterprise Inns moved a temporary team in to manage it for three weeks in December 2016, but then shut it overnight shortly after Christmas and put it up for sale.

The pub has now reportedly been bought by a local Kingsthorpe couple.

They have no plans to reopen the King Billy and will instead convert it into a house.

Sally Beardsworth, councillor for Kingsthorpe, said: "It's always a shame to see a community lose one of its assets. The closure and sale of the King Billy was handled badly by Enterprise Inns.

"At least it's been sold to somebody who lives in the village who will have some respect for it. I'm glad it hasn't been sold to any developers and it won't be used for some dreadful block of flats.

"As a pub, it was central to our annual village fete in the summer and I will miss it for that.

"At least we have both the Cock Hotel and the Queen Adelaide nearby."

The Queen Adelaide, named after King William IV's wife, is also owned by Enterprise Inns.

Aileen Dunkley, chair of the Kingsthorpe Conservation Group, said: "Many of us are sorry to see it go but at the same time not many of us went in there anyway. We would sometimes hold meetings there to show local support but we would be the only ones in there if we did.

"It wasn't big enough for the food trade and it didn't have a car park. It was there when we wanted it to be but I can't say I went in very often.

"At least the King William won't sit there like the White Horse. That's looked so terrible since it was sold."

The White Horse, in Harborough Road, Kingsthorpe, was also owned by Enterprise Inns and closed in 2009.

The King William IV pub was listed by property consultants Drake & company for £295,000 plus VAT.

Speaking in February 2016 after temporarily closing, Mrs Melanie Clare, the landlord, said: "We’re all gutted, absolutely, but we just weren’t making any money.

“From October [2015] especially, it’s just got harder and harder.

“Overall, it's a lack of footfall that has done it, but there are a few things that don’t help that.

“The rates from the brewery don’t help. The trade is down but your bills just stay the same.

“It really has broken my heart.

“I’d like to thank my customers for their support over the years.”