A pub has delayed its re-opening after damage caused by a fire was found to be more severe than originally thought.

The Albert, on Chipping Hill, Witham, has been closed since since a first-floor fire broke out at the pub in September.

It had originally been due to open in mid-December under new management following a refurbishment.

But scaffolding and fencing still surrounds the pub, which will have a new name, The Railway, when it opens to customers again.

A spokesman for Star Pubs, which owns the building, said: “The fire damage to the pub was more extensive than first thought, which has delayed the re-opening.

“The pub is also being refurbished at the moment as well as being fixed.

“It is likely to open in early February.”

The refurbishment, which is likely to cost about £190,000, aims to make the pub more family-friendly and includes the re-introduction of a food menu.