FRESH START Chris Cozens outside the Leicester Arms in Penshurst

THE publican who is credited with turning around the fortunes of a local village pub has bought another – the Leicester Arms in Penshurst.

Chris Cozens purchased the George and Dragon in Speldhurst this summer and says he has increased revenue by 40 per cent in four months.

Mr Cozens, who grew up in Speldhurst but runs several establishments in Cambridge, plans to give the Leicester Arms a makeover by refurbishing its 13 bedrooms.

His company, Silverlake Leisure, will also renovate the function room so that it can cater for dinner parties for 30 people and host conferences.

The Grade II listed inn was -purchased by Brakspear brewery on Monday (October 2), and passed on to Mr Cozens on a 10-year leasehold.

Dating back to 1720, it was taken over three years ago by Julian Leefe-Griffiths, who also used to run the George and Dragon.

“It’s a stunning building, in a fantastic location opposite Penshurst Place,” said Mr Cozens. “We are attracted by the idea of running rooms and we think it can work if you get the formula right.

“I hope we can pick up new custom, and if it’s anything like the George and Dragon, I hope the villagers will start coming back.”