THE chairman of a parish council believes that his village’s pub can still be a success, despite it closing unexpectedly for the second time in a year.

The Black Bull in Matfen closed on February 9 after landlord Marshall Dunn was informed by the pub’s management that the business could not continue.

Marshall, a head chef by trade, took the pub over in December. He said that despite a busy start to his career at the pub, patrons had not been using the pub enough to make it viable.

Marshall said: “Nobody was coming in. I tried my best. I was working 80 hours a week.

“It started off quite well. People were coming in a lot, but recently it just wasn’t taking enough money. It was losing money hand over fist and I got told I was to close it.”

The news of the closure has been met with sadness in the village, but there remains hope that the pub will reopen.

Coun. Stuart Mills, chairman of Matfen Parish Council, who works in the pub trade, said there was an appetite for a community pub at the heart of the village.

Coun. Mills said: “There’s a huge opportunity that exists for that pub.

“I work in the pub trade and I have 20 years’ experience in the trade, and there’s no doubt that there’s a vibrant, healthy future for that pub.

“It just requires the right people with the right investment. I think the requirement for a pub at the heart of a local community has never been more needed.

“They close invariably when they don’t meet the consumer’s demands – pubs have to work bloody hard because people have nice warm homes with lots to do.”

Coun. Mills pointed to local pubs like the Rat in Anick and the County in Hexham as examples of successful local pubs.

He added: “As a parish council, we would take a significant interest in the future of the pub in the village.”