PUBS in north Essex are bucking the national trend of boozers in decline, with more new houses reopening than are closing.

The Good Pub Guide 2014 estimates between 2,500 and 4,000 pubs will shut this year.

However, the Campaign for Real Ale’s Suffolk and North Essex branch says 17 pubs in the area closed last year and 19 reopened.

Group spokesman Nigel Smith said: “There are definitely signs of a recovery.”

The latest pub to reopen is the Kings Arms, in Dovercourt High Street.

Experienced licensee Steve Picton, of the Punch Taverns group, has taken on the pub, bringing 15 years of running bars and clubs in Cambridgeshire, to the task.

He is looking forward to a new era at the Victorian pub, which closed last October.

Mr Picton said: “This is the only public house left in the High Street and it would be a great loss to the community if it remained closed.

“I’m hoping to make the pub a true community asset, with pool, darts, cribbage, poker and other games.”