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Landmark Thornton Heath pub The Wheatsheaf to close

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THE Wheatsheaf, a landmark pub on Thornton Heath pond, is to close this weekend. The well-known London Road venue is to shut on Sunday after being sold by owners Stonegate Pubs. The company has yet to comment but the Advertiser understands the listed building is to be refurbished before being reopened under a new guise. Manager Isabelle Kelly has been told the Wheatsheaf will not be turned into a supermarket, as a number of other pubs in Croydon have in recent years. "The pub is exchanging hands from Stonegate to another company," she said. "It's closing for a refurbishment. I don't know in what form it's reopening - a hotel, a bar, a restaurant - but I do know there are plans to reopen it." Ms Kelly, who has managed the pub since March, is to move to the Bird in Hand in Forest Hill. "I've only been the manager of the Wheatsheaf for a few months but I thought we had a good thing going," she said. "Unfortunately, someone's come in and made quite a big bid and the company has decided to sell. "Hopefully the people that have purchased it will do a good job. "Croydon's obviously changing. You can see that with all the development going on around it. "A few years back it got a bit of bad press, but for someone who had never lived in Croydon before, I had a very warm welcome and had a very good time. I wish the people who take it on all the best of luck." The Wheatsheaf was built in the 1800s and is probably best-known for its reputation for being haunted. Legend has it that, years ago, bodies were stored in the pub's cellar after public hangings in a Thornton Heath park. There are even those who think highwayman Dick Turpin was executed nearby. Ms Kelly said: "I think it's more famous for it's ghosts than anything else. "Other than that, it's a typical English-run pub. It's not gimmicky. It's not been invested in for a long time, so refurbishment is definitely overdue." While reassured that the pub will not be converted into a supermarket, Ms Kelly hopes the new owners are faithful to its history. "I think it's important that all the community pub stay open," she said. "Before I joined Stonegate I worked for a holding company and it would break your heart to see the fabulous looking buildings that have been turned into a McDonald's or a Tesco Express. "But, with supermarkets having a monopoly on cheap alcohol, and the taxes on beer, unless the government step in and do something, it's probably what's going to happen to all the independent companies." Wheatsheaf customers are in for a lively final few days, with a Freddie Mercury tribute act on Friday night, a resident DJ on Saturday and drinks with the regulars on Sunday.Share your experiences of The Wheatsheaf below

Landmark Thornton Heath pub The Wheatsheaf to close


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