A pub has been saved from closure after a local businessman announced he had secured a lease for three years to run it as an independent business.

The announcement last Thursday  secured the future of Heathcote Arms, in Grove Green Road, Leytonstone. with the opening due in two weeks’ time.

In September, developer Equity Estates bought the pub and it has been closed ever since, with no planning application lodged.

A campaign was launched, with a petition gaining over 1,000 signatures, and this week the lease was put on the market as a going concern.

Jason Verdi, 42, of Fairlop Road, said he jumped at the opportunity.

“I saw the lease was available and as a local man I saw the opportunity as 
it is such an important aspect of the 
community,” he explained.

“I want to turn it into a family pub, with home-cooked food and free from any of the issues it used to have.

“I am planning on getting it open as soon as possible, hopefully within two weeks.

“We will see what we can do with it for a few years, I will certainly give it a go, but I could not leave it unused.”

Blur singer and former Leytonstone resident Damon Albarn supported the campaign to save the pub.

In October, campaigners successfully applied for it to be an Asset of Community Value, which gives the community six months to raise sufficient funds to purchase the building if it is put up for sale.