A NEW Zealander has bought the Milbank Arms in Well, near Bedale, and quashed fears that it might be converted into a private house.

Leanne Owen-Keenan knew from day one that the pub was the right place for her and her partner, Phillip Brownrigg. "We made an offer practically straight away," she said. They opened in November.

She said villagers had been adamant that they did not want to lose their pub.

"The people who had the business before me found that it didn't work out as they hoped and tried to get planning permission to change it to residential use," she said. "When it was refused it went on the market, and since I have been here the locals have been really supportive."

The pub offers a wide range of beers and traditional food served Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday lunchtimes.