SOMETIMES at New Year it’s important to take stock, tell it like it is. And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from living in Yorkshire, you’ve got to be direct. So here goes.

Over the last few years, although there has been a few ups and downs, I’m proud of the things we’ve achieved in Malton. Generally speaking, it feels like the town is gaining momentum.

However, I also think it’s important to hold your hands up and say when you get things wrong too, and with The Talbot I have to say, we didn’t get it all quite right.

When we opened The Talbot six years ago, I feel we made it too formal, too stuffy and too serious. We wanted The Talbot to appeal to Malton residents, but it transpired that it wasn’t quite welcoming enough.

Well folks, a change is coming and it’s one of the most exciting changes I can remember in the last 10 years. The management of The Talbot has been taken on by a lovely couple called Sam and Georgie Pearman and boy do they have some plans.

Above all their vision is for a place that is relaxed, informal, fun and most crucially - with an emphasis on local residents.

First of all they’re taking out the word “hotel”. Now this may seem a small difference, but it’s meant as an important culture change. The Talbot is now centred around food and drink.

It’s now planned to be much more a restaurant with rooms, friendly, casual and more pub-like.

Think lots of cosy corners and rustic charm. A place you can come in your wellies, bring the dog and enjoy a perfect Sunday roast or a pint of local beer.

Most of the initial changes will be found in the new bar area. Here you will find aged wood floors and panelling, deep sofas, comfortable armchairs, a new fireplace and darker more intimate colours.

All to create that cosy, homely feel, which I’m sure will become a signature of The Talbot. There’s a new feasting room planned with sharing dishes and a new garden room filled with greenery, terracotta pots and fresh herbs.

Sam and Georgie (previously co-founders of the award-winning Cotswolds boutique hotel and restaurant group The Lucky Onion) tell me they plan for The Talbot to have its own very unique Yorkshire feel.

“We’re taking The Talbot back to its roots really,” Georgie says, “as a properly comfortable and welcoming Yorkshire coaching Inn.

"The whole philosophy is one of informality - eat where you like, wear what you like, come and go as you please. The Talbot’s taking off its tie, I suppose you could say.”

As 2019 dawns, a new chapter is starting at The Talbot in Malton. In recent years the bar for quality businesses has truly been raised by the likes of Groovy Moo, Nine to Eleven, Hare & Wilde, Florian Poirot, Macmillans, Maison Du Vin, Rare Bird, Kemps and many others. I’m sure with fresh leadership and ideas at The Talbot it too will do the town proud.

The Talbot closes on January 14 and reopens on February 4.