AN INVESTOR funding a multi-million-pound refurbishment to transform a historic pub said its previous reputation “would make your toes curl”.

American entrepreneur Barrie Drewitt-Barlow is the new owner of the grade II listed former Swan pub, in Bank Street, Braintree.

The takeover, which was completed June 26, will see the establishment be revamped into a high-dining experience called Ocean’s Braintree.

Ocean’s Braintree will offer a fusion of Japanese and Caribbean inspired dishes, such as sushi, sashimi and teppanyaki.

Transformation pending - The site formally known as The SwanTransformation pending - The site formally known as The Swan (Image: Newsquest)

A figure between £1.5million to £2million will be injected into the building to give it a new lease of life, while retaining its unique features.

Barrie is the investor behind Ocean’s Braintree, and it will be spearheaded by executive chef and business partner Ocean Chapman, from Braintree.

They met after both appearing on Channel 5’s Rich House, Poor House, which filmed last year.

Barrie previously spoke to the Braintree and Witham Times about wanting to make sure the ambitious project is pulled off in the “right way”.

Exciting - Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and Ocean chapman with executive consultant chef to Ocean’s Braintree, David Woodford, former Master Chef Asia runner-upExciting - Barrie Drewitt-Barlow (centre) and Ocean Chapman (right) with executive consultant chef to Ocean’s Braintree, David Woodford (left), former Master Chef Asia runner-up (Image: Barrie Drewitt-Barlow)

Over the years, the Swan had been known for having a bad reputation, according to previous landlord Ken Tang, who re-opened the pub in February.

Barrie said its transformation is being treated with the utmost respect, and wants to reassure residents who grew up with the Swan.

He said: “I would say that for years, many of you have run past this place as quickly as your feet would take you.

"For years the pub has had a reputation that would make your toes curl.

"Even with the last tenant, he was able to get it back on track as a pub, but that’s all.

“This building has been for sale for the past two years and during that time the owners were clear that they did not want the premises trading as a pub any longer.

Committed to making something special - Investor Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and his partner ScottCommitted to making something special - Investor Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and his partner Scott (Image: Barrie Drewitt-Barlow)

“So whoever bought the building could not open it again as a pub.

“It was being sold only to those able to change the use.

"We think Braintree is ready for something new and we can see the potential in the location as being one of the best in the town.

“We are not taking the project lightly. We are investing between £1.5million to £2million to save the building and turn the location into something spectacular.

“We know it’s going to upset a few, but the thousands of others showing support are the people who would never have stepped into the place as the Swan, and it is those people we are doing this for.

“No more expensive rides into London or Chelmsford for the locals, they will be able to celebrate their special occasion locally when we open.”

Ocean's Braintree is hoping to open in the run-up to Christmas.